Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giftalong2014 Promotion Week Ending

The giftalong 2014 promotion (25% off with the code giftalong214) is nearing its end (tomorrow at midnight) so if you want to make your Christmas shopping more exciting visit the indie-crochet designers participating in the GAL here. 

The above fourteen patterns can also be purchased with 25% off with the code giftalong2014 at checkout from my ravelry shop here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to read round crochet charts and a free flower pattern

I get a lot of comments and questions from my customers about my photo tutorials and one thing I've learned so far is that people's feelings towards crochet charts vary from mild fear to utter aversion.
Let me tell you one thing. The minute I learned how to follow a crochet chart I didn't turn to written patterns ever again. I mean like never! So I thought it might be fun and a bit educational if I show you how to read the charts - understandably that you are familiar with the basic crochet stitches.  Today I am showing you how to read patterns in the rounds. Next time I will show you how to read a square.

I made a variation of my Mini Flowers and Forget-Me-Nots.
This is the chart with the crochet symbols for the flower. Looks great isn't it?
Let's divide it into steps.
We'll call this a Field Flower, so to make the foundation:
(The little dot represents the slip stitch)
Round 1: (the arrow with the number shows you where to start the round and the number of the round)

Round 2: (Repeat the pattern that is in the quotation marks)

Round 3:
And that's it. I hope this was easy and that you enjoyed it!
You can crochet the center of the flower (rounds 1+2) in another color for greater effect.  


Monday, November 17, 2014

Darleen Hopkins - a Crochet Designer

Today I want to introduce Darleen Hopkins who is a crochet designer I met through Ravelry. She is also participating in the indie-designer's giftalong going on right now and offering 25% off some of her patterns with the code: giftalong2014
1. Can you introduce yourself for my readers, please?
Hello!  Thank you Maya!  Thank you so much for taking the time to introduce me to your readers.  My name is Darleen Hopkins and I LOVE everything crochet!  I had my first design published in 2010 but I didn’t jump all the way into designing/writing crochet patterns professionally until late 2012.  I absolutely love doing this as the design process has been such a wonderful way for me to exercise my creative side.  And I love pattern writing.  I have a background in accounting and thrive on numbers and details.

2. How many years have you been knitting and / or crocheting and what do you specialize in making?
I started crocheting in about 2004/2005.  It started out as something to keep my hands busy instead of snacking.  I quickly became addicted and right away started making up my own designs.  I have a hard time following a pattern because I’m always thinking, I wonder what would happen if I tried this...  My favorite items to make are hats, specifically silly hats.  If I’m not working on a current design then I’m likely making a hat to donate to Halos of Hope for those who have lost their hair due to medical treatment.
Thank you so much for sharing the link with us! Prior to this interview I've never heard of this organization and its wonderful cause  - so all who want to contribute to this lovely cause - visit the Halos of Hope. 

3. Can you describe your designing process? How do you start a project? Do you choose the yarn first or envision and draw it first? 
It depends on the item.  Most of the time I have the idea, draw it out then go look for the right yarn and start crocheting.  Sometimes my vision is clear enough and I skip the drawing out and go straight to the crocheting part.  The actual crocheting part is the most fun part of the process anyway. : )
4. What inspires you the most in creating your products?
I like to think of things that will make others smile, either because it is sweet or silly or because they know they found the perfect pattern to highlight that special yarn they have been saving.

5. What  is your favorite knitting / crocheting place?
I seem to do most of my crocheting in my home-usually on the couch in the family room when I’m able to “get in the crochet zone” and not have to think too much about the process.  If I’m at a point in a pattern or design where I need to really think and work something out, I’ll sit at the kitchen island where I can spread out my notes and yarn and concentrate a little better.
6. Who are your favorite designers (if you have any in fiber arts or otherwise) and why?
I don’t really have a favorite designer but I love to look at what everyone else has created; from bold colors and clean lines to romantic and vintage inspired as well as adorable and silly.  I love them all.

7. Do you have a favorite design in your portfolio and what inspired you to make it?
I do.  It’s a design I made for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  It’s an original and very personal in its design.  I blogged about it during the 2013 Gift-A-Long.  The story is here: The Spirit of Gifting
I think it is an amazing, heart-warming, wonderful gift! I can only imagine your parents surprise, excitement and joy upon receiving it!

8. Any other crafts you like to dab into?
I knit occasionally but it’s been awhile.  I would love to learn how to quilt.  I absolutely love handmade quilts.  We have a couple hanging in my home.  They are beautiful.  But I haven’t taken the time to learn, yet.

9. What is your perfect day?
Sleeping in-I LOVE to sleep in and it doesn’t happen enough.  Then enjoying a cup or two of coffee while I check email.  Next, going for an invigorating walk with my husband and boys in the woods somewhere-likely a waterfall my husband heard about.  We have lots of hidden waterfalls in north Georgia.  Come home to a meal already cooked so neither of us have to-not sure how to make that happen! and then an hour or two of quiet with my yarn.

10. Anything you'd like to add and I missed to ask?
Nope!  Thanks for having me!
Thank you Darleen for the lovely interview!
You can find me on Facebook: Crochet By Darleen
Ravelry: Darleen Hopkins
Website/Blog:  Crochet by Darleen Blog

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Giftalong 2014 and Indie Knit and Crochet Designers

This year, following the invitation of my lovely host Kimberly, I joined the so called Gift-A-Long on Ravelry.

What is Gift-A-Long? It is a multi-designer promotion and KAL/CAL. Here is the statistics Kymberly made for us.
There are 293 designers participating and discounting many of their patterns - as many as 3,822! Can you imagine that?

If you are interested in buying some patterns with 25% off, the promotion will run through November 21 @11:59 EST with the discount code giftalong2014. Fourteen of my patterns are discounted too - check the discounted board here: Maya Kuzman
I would love if you visit Kimberly's shop and go through her unique designs of stunning shawls and wraps with amazing patterns and textures!

There are two more designers I want to present today: One of them is Corley from the
Crafted by Corley Shop

She has some beautiful children's knits and crochets! I am in love with the nappy cover and the pink cardi!

The other designer is Lisa from the Meanest Mommy Shop.
I love the gorgeous and intricate designs of her socks and the eye-catching cowls and shawls.
  You can check my promotion of fellow indie designers on Instagram, pinterest and facebook.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My interview on the 80 Skeins

Guys, I am so excited!

My interview on the 80 Skeins is up thanks to the lovely Kimberly who arranged this wondrous journey!

I hope you drop by to read it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Granny Square Necklace - free tutorial


Hi everyone! With the holidays slowly and inevitably nearing by, it is always a good idea to have some gifts ready. 
This is one of those last minute gifts you can make in a jiffy. 
So, gather your supplies and let's start!

Use this tutorial to make the mini granny squares or use any grannies you like as long as they are tiny. For tinier grannies use delicate (fine) or sport yarn or embroidery floss. 

Attach the grannies onto the main chain. 
The sherbet one is smaller than the gray one and I have attached them on different rings, so the sherbet falls slightly over the gray one. 

Add some chains on the bottom part for effect. 

Take some glass beads and attach them on one side of the necklace and add a plain metal chain on the other side. Add the clasp in the end and your necklace is ready! Enjoy it!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Around the World in 80 Skeins: Russia, Italy, Bulgaria and Cyprus

The journey around the world continues and we get to meet more phenomenal designers and learn about the cultural and traditional influences in their work. 

So grab your favourite drink and join in.   


The above beautiful shawls were made by Svetlana Gordon from Russia who has some stunning designs you might want to check. 


This lovely lady is Emma Fassio and she comes from Italy
She is the author of knitting books showcasing her captivating designs.


Silviya Metodieva comes from Bulgaria. I love her white cardigan above, but there are also some very pretty knit clothes she makes. Do read her interview.

And last but not least, there's Tamara Lazaridou coming from sunny Cyprus. This crochet-amigurumi artist offers an incredible mini-world you simply must love. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Autumnal Brooch



Nature is slowly changing its colors, and every day the scenery gets a new autumnal color. Ranging from the brightest yellow to the darkest orange and red it is a feast for the eyes. 
The central flower of my brooch is made with a vintage fabric that reminded me of the richness of autumn.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Traditional Macedonian Folk Costumes


While making the Bridal Necklaces I decided to shed a little light on Macedonian folk costumes here on my blog, a topic I have never dwelt much on. 
Macedonian folk costumes have a centuries-long tradition. They are part of the material culture of the Macedonian people and an important branch of the national artistic creation.

In the past, the peasant woman in particular, was the one who created the costumes starting from dyeing the yarn, weaving it into coarse cotton cloths and tightly woven wool yarn and cloths, sewing the parts of clothing and decorating it.
Wool, hemp, flax, cotton, and to a lesser extent silk, cultivated in the old traditional way, were and still are the basic raw materials used for making the costumes. 

There are about 70 various types of richly decorated traditional costumes in Macedonia. They are divided into two main types: western and eastern traditional costumes. Each type has its own distinctive characteristics and differences. 

There were separate costumes due to the occasions. So ordinary, everyday work clothes were less decorated and  plainer than those worn for the holidays which were richly ornamented. 
The whole attire consisted of several layers of clothing, starting from the camisole / shirt/ tunic or plain dresses over which women wore vests or coats and the mandatory apron and belt and head scarves. 
Men's costumes consist of white linen shirts and pants resembling English riding breeches, vests and wide cloth belts. Both men and women wore "opinci" a characteristic type of leather footwear. 

In some of my future posts I am going to write about traditional embroidery. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ethnic Bridal Necklaces

As I have previously mentioned here - I have embarked on a journey with fellow crocheters and specifically for the project I decided to crochet something that would represent my country and its history. 

Macedonian richly decorated ethnic bridal costumes inspired me to make these enchanting necklaces. The rich palette of used colors symbolize life, love, unity, fertility and longevity. 

My interview is scheduled for the 14th November and I am so excited about it. 

The pattern is for sale on etsy, ravelry and craftsy

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Nowadays I am too tired for anything. Long years spent juggling three jobs is certainly taking its toll and recently I started paying it off. So, I wasn't planning on putting on a costume or any make-up. But I admit. I got weak and at the last minute decided to do the fastest thing I can which is this - The Day of the Dead - make up.

So I wasn't much productive this year. For example I was dying to paint my jars like this and make a new Halloween wreath.

Instead, at home and school we made some paper pumpkin buntings and dancing witches and we also carved pumpkins online using this site
You can see Jacob's and my pumpkins. After carving them you can make the image a puzzle - Jacob loved that immensely.


And I also made this tutorial which my kids adore. Especially the witches that hang around the house :)