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table of contents Letter from the Editor..................................................................................................... 3 Meet Our Staff............................................................................................................... 4 We Reviewed Nick Cave - Upright Atlanta........................................................................................14 Wear Crochet: Spring/Summer Fashion 2015...................................................................18 Special Feature: Depression Examined ......................................................................................24 Special Feature: Shock, Sadness, Fear ... Thinking About You Wink (A Creative Being)...... 27 #Mandalas for Marinke..................................................................................................31 Charity Focus: LeVon “Ray� Rhone of Frank Honest Co................................................. 36 Cover Story: Gina Renay: An Awe!Some Crochet Visionary .................................................... 40 Featured Designers Leslie Urinyi - Abandons the Rules and Crochets with Amazing Colors and Textures.............. 48 Yvette Wilson - Crochet Unplugged .......................................................................... 54


STAFF LaTonya “Keturah Ariel” Malinconico Founder/Creative Director

Rhonda “TurquoizBlue” Davis Editor-in-Chief

Julie-Sarah Desjardins French Editor & Translator/ Blogger

Aldonia Secession Assistant Editor/ Charity Director

Karen Thistle Copy Editor

Lamira Fields Feature Writer

Isabelle Barrette Assistant French Editor & Translator

Melanie Cheripka Staff Assistant

Dottie Mabry Staff Assistant

Karen Rourke Staff Assistant

Crochet Savvy Magazine

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letter from the EDITOR Dear Crochet Savvy Readers, I don’t know where you all reside, but I am in the southeastern part of the United States of America where it is super-hot. Temps here have consistently been in the mid-90s. Because it is so hot, I have been crocheting with some lighter weights of yarn and experimenting with Filet crochet. The technique is cool, lightweight, and has lots of holes -- perfect for summer crocheting. I would love to explore ways to do something unexpected with Filet Crochet. Doing things in a different way requires bravery and imaginative thinking. People who choose to think freely and go in a different direction than the mainstream are sometimes alienated and ostracized. There are also rewards for those who throw off expectations and break rules. Being a frontrunner can mean being the innovator and creator of an idea. Wouldn’t life be boring if we all crocheted the same things, used the same techniques, and set up the same types of businesses? Thankfully, we have brave crochet renegades to keep crochet interesting and inspire us to think outside our boxes. This is our annual Special Issue, and it celebrates the avant-garde crocheters who experiment and explore new ways to express themselves with yarn and crochet. These artists do things their own way when it comes to their crochet. Plus, we have a review of a performance by artist Nick Cave -- creator of Soundsuits. We have also dedicated a portion of this issue in remembrance of popular crochet blogger Marinke Slump aka Wink of A Creative Being. Wink was a long-time advertiser and supporter of Crochet Savvy, and we mourn her departure. Lastly, I want to thank everyone for your support of our Spring/Summer issue. It is currently our most-viewed and most-shared issue of Crochet Savvy magazine. Take care, Rhonda “TurquoizBlue” Davis


meet our STAFF Keturah is a debut author and has been in the hiphop industry for more than 13 years. An advocate for charity and having joy through trials, she teaches through motivation and inspiration a message of hope and balance for people, especially stay-athome-moms, who feel that they are completely lost tending to children, husbands and house duties. She currently has a BA in Liberal Arts and an MBA in Business Administration and is a graphics designer and networker. She loves to use her creativity through arts, music and crafting (crocheting, knitting & sewing) to encourage others. Keturah currently resides in Toronto, ON with her family. For more info about her and her designs check out: ~~~~~ Rhonda Davis aka TurquoizBlue lives in Atlanta, GA, where she is a multimedia designer specializing in creating experiences with fiber and digital media. She has been designing professionally since 2007, and her background includes degrees in Web Design and Visual Communications, along with a MFA in Digital Media Design. TurquoizBlue’s mission is to help users to have meaningful encounters with design. She is an accomplished designer whose work has been featured in top fiber design magazines. She can be found on her blog at, as well as most social media sites @TurquoizBlue.

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Aldonia has always been creative. To escape life she would find something creative to keep her occupied. Just last year she came across the world of fiber arts; and thought, crocheting looks like fun but refused to make your everyday blankets. With no one willing to teach a left handed person to crochet, she taught herself. After practicing and rewriting patterns she saw online she decided to write her own. She is an active volunteer for the children’s festival and fundraiser of Cochise County and is crocheting winter hats for the teens. She is from Bridgeport, Connecticut and has two loving children. She is also a self taught Left-handed crocheter since 2012 and is the owner of Barnwell’s Delight in Arizona ~~~~~ Copyeditor Karen Thistle’s Aunt Blanche was the first person to show her the joy and beauty of crochet. During one extended visit, her aunt made a zig-zag afghan to keep Karen’s mom cozy and also a matching skirt, top, and hat created with the same yarn for Karen’s doll. First lesson learned: crochet means love. Even so, Karen became a knitter around 1999— blame it on a failure of nerve; at the time, she felt she needed the security of two needles. In 2011, however, she got tired of having to pass up perfectly lovely patterns just because they were crochet. She grabbed a Boye hook, the book Crocheting For Dummies, 2nd Edition, and a ball of yarn, then started learning the craft in earnest. She’s loving it! Mom now has a rectangular shawl to cuddle up in as well.


I’m Julie... aka ACCROchet! I am also mom (& stepmom) to 2 teenagers, almost-wife to a fantastic man, and a communications professional. I live with my family & too many pets in the suburbs of Montreal. I’ve been an avid crocheter for over 10 years, and hope to make you an addict too! ACCROchet. In French, ACCRO means addict. I am a crochet addict. And am I attempting to hide it? Gawd no; quite the opposite! I publish my personal brand of crazy everywhere and for all to see! And I trust/hope you’ll join me. 10 years ago today (no matter when you read this, it’ll always be 10 years ago today) I picked up 2 knitting needles and some yarn my mom had laying around, and I decided to teach myself to knit. 22 minutes later, stressed and discouraged beyond belief I threw the needles across the room and wallowed in self-pity. But then… then I talked to an American friend who was crazy about crochet and she showed me that all I needed was one less tool! Crochet has evolved, has made itself over and is the current up-and-coming fiber star. It is modern and trendy. And so tragically misunderstood. ~~~~~ Hi! My name is Isabelle and I am the proud mother of two wonderful little ladies of 3 and 4 years old and the wife of an equally wonderful husband. My family supports me by patiently letting me fill our apartment from top to bottom with various types of gorgeous yarn. I learned knitting and crochet with books and YouTube about 8 years ago to satisfy an increasing desire for creation. I always have a hook and yarn in my bag juuuust in case I have a crochet emergency (you never know!). I crochet hats, scarves, slippers and mostly

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softies which I share on my blog L’araignée Gambadeuse at ~~~~~ Lamira is born and raised in Washington, D.C, she began crocheting at the age of 14 and was blessed to have two aunts that taught her this beautiful craft. Lamira started out making granny squares and that quickly turned into blankets. Unfortunately, she stopped crocheting around the age of 17 but quickly began again when she became pregnant with her first son at the age of 22. Now at the age of 46, Lamira loves crocheting and cannot see herself without a hook and yarn. She loves to crochet blankets, hats (infant, children, and adult), and scarves. Her craft goals are to learn “Crochet By Numbers” technique by Todd Paschall and the Tunisian stitch. You can find Lamira on in several groups there! ~~~~~ Melanie is a happily married mom to 6 little ones. Ok, some of them aren’t so little anymore and tower above her. Which is an easy thing to do, considering she’s only 5’1”! She has 2 boys and 4 girls ranging in age from 5 months to 14 years. Her older 3 love to play soccer and 2 of them are on elite travel teams. She is the mom behind Piedmont Purls, a cute little shop where she offers her knitted and crocheted goodies. As if she doesn’t have enough to do, Melanie also holds down a full time job as a Proposal Coordinator / Writer for a Government contractor. She started knitting about 10 years ago when she used cloth diapers for her then-baby and was looking for more natural, breathable diaper covers.


After doing some research, she found that wool was just what she was looking for. Being a DIY-er at heart, she bought some wool yarn and taught herself how to knit by watching YouTube videos and Googling knitting terms. Yes, you read that right— her FIRST knitting project was a diaper cover, complete with short rows! She quickly got bored with knitting and loved the options that crochet offered such as amigurumi. She still loves knitting and the way it looks — but she finds that crochet is faster, which appeals to the ADD side of her personality! She’s all over the internet and can be found at her store Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Pinterest - ~~~~~

Karen C. Rourke Staff Assistant

My love affair with color and textiles began early: by the age of 10 my grandmother had taught me to crochet, my great aunt taught me to knit, and my mother taught me to sew. Through my teens and beyond I continued to teach myself new stitches and techniques always looking for more challenging projects. I also taught myself how to do counted cross-stitch, quilting, digital art with Photoshop, and machine embroidery. I try to keep active in all of my craft-related interests but I consistently return to crochet. I have taught my sisters-in-law to crochet baby and bridal blankets that I designed so that more than one crocheter can work on individual pieces. We started 7 years ago, we’ve completed 23 blankets; numbers 24 and 25 are in the works.

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By day I am employed by one of New England’s largest utility companies. I have worked in Customer Service, Billing, and Credit. I am currently a meter operations specialist responsible for work management, data flow, and performance measurement. It’s very techno-nerdy, which I think is one of the reasons I am drawn to handicrafts. After a 30 years, I am starting to look forward to a second career; my dream is for it to be in a creative field. I live in the same small town in Connecticut where I grew up. There’s a lake in my backyard and a golf course in the front - it’s a tough place to live, but somebody had to do it! My other interests include cooking with my daughter Lauren, TV (especially Jeopardy!) and Scrabble with my husband Kevin, tug-of-war with my dog Hazel, and reading. ~~~~~ I’m an artist and art teacher. I have three children, all of them with successful jobs and living on their own. I’m married to Stony, the love of my life and my true BFF. We are parents to Sawyer, a oncehomeless ginger kitty who chose to own us. “Life is good. Yarn is great. People, I may be crazy.” to misquote a song I heard recently. Read on… My grandmother taught me to crochet at a very early age. Through the years I would pick up the art of crochet time and again, but never with the zeal that I have had for it in recent years. Maybe I should attribute my passion for crochet to that fateful night and the copperhead snake. Yes, I said “snake”. On July 4, 2005, while enjoying fireworks in the front yard with my husband, I was bitten on my foot by a copperhead snake. Long story short: A 911 call, ambulance ride, 2 days in


the hospital, then several weeks of recuperation at home. Since all I could do was stay off my leg, I had to fulfill my artist’s need to create! Painting was out (too messy), sculpture was out (WAY too messy, and besides that, didn’t want a divorce), sewing was out (ugh, makes me curse), so I went with the only option that really made sense: crochet. It started simply, innocently. I sent my husband to the store for a couple skeins of cheap yarn and unearthed my grandma’s old crochet hooks from storage. Well! I wasn’t trying to marathon-crochet or anything, I was just staying productive while sitting still. And then! Then it began to morph. Into something indescribable and mysterious. Like that cloud-monster in “Lost”, it rolled in and filled the room with the need, the overwhelming drive to crochet more and more and more.

board. It’s all around, even in the shape of yarn. I view crochet as a sculptural medium. The shapes, textures, patterns, colors!!! So much to work with and so many wonders to create! I approach each new creation as an art project. I hope to share my obsession — er, love — for crochet with the readers of Crochet Savvy. And I’d like to let you all know: It’s ok. Yarn is great. Crochet is great. And that’s not crazy.

As with Eve, I was led astray by the snake into a tangled existence of no turning back. I admit it. I’m a yarn junkie; I can’t get enough of it, and each minute of every day is fueled with thoughts of “How can I get my hands on some yarn?” and “Where can I buy more yarn?” and “How soon can I get out of here so I can make more things from YARN?” It’s a sickness that I want no cure for! Yet I keep thinking I will eventually get it out of my system. Hasn’t happened. I’m living with it. The obsession. I’m able to speak of it without shame or fear of scorn. The up side of it is: I’ve produced afghans, pillows, hats and bags. Vests and drink cozies and valances and bowls, Amigurumi lions and tigers and bears, (oh my!) I’ve run a very successful Etsy shop for 10 years. Needless to say, I’m showing no signs of crochet burnout. My “day job” is being art teacher to my 800-plus wonderfully creative K-5 students. They spark my creativity in life, art and yarn. As an artist, I fully believe that art does not stop at the canvas or the drawing

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we REVIEWED Nick Cave - Upright Atlanta by TurquoizBlue

I recently attended “Upright Atlanta,” a dance performance by artists Nick Cave and T. Lang presented by flux projects at Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Georgia. It was billed as a call for “initiates to become warriors of their own destiny.” Nick Cave’s Soundsuits and T. Lang’s choreography combined to create enticing, otherworldly movement. The performance was part marching band, Mardi

Gras Indian costume ceremony, Mothership, and Motherland. It began with a multi-layered percussive beat, which was overlaid by the enchanting cadence of a whistle blown by Rikki McKinney. McKinney looked like a shamanistic drum major, with his tall hat, scepter, and a fur collar which covered his bare chest. He

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blew his whistle as he raised and lowered his scepter to control the costumed dancers. At his command, the dancers shook, leapt, and rolled to the ground in costumes made of fake fur, plastic raffia, and other fantastic materials. The children were especially mesmerized, because the dancers resembled creatures they might draw with their crayons, and their art was now alive and dancing right in front of their eyes. The adults were initially reserved, but they came alive as the children grew braver and gathered along the front of the audience like recruits waiting to become part of the show. By the time the whistling became more pronounced, the entire audience was aroused and engaged. The children danced in the middle of the performance area as the costumed creatures circled around them. The adults danced along the perimeter of the area. McKinney blew his whistle and regained control of the wild creatures. He led them back and forth in front of the audience and up onto the stage to give everyone a complete view of their magnificence before exiting the area, and the drums came to a sudden stop.

All images Š TurquoizBlue

The second portion of the performance began with several men sitting on stools on stage and wearing their street clothes. They all stared forward without moving, while a pianist played a song that was serious, yet serene in tone. Next a team of technicians wearing white lab coats walked onto the stage. There were also several stations on stage, which contained random pieces of fabric, beading, fur and other unidentifiable materials. One station


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also displayed what looked like part of a granny square crocheted Christmas afghan. Suddenly the men rose in unison and disrobed down to their underwear. The technicians separated into groups of two and joined each man near a station. What followed was an inside look at how the Soundsuits are assembled. The technicians provided each man with fringed pants that appeared to be made from layers of plastic raffia. Next, a metal armature was placed over the shoulders of each man. The technicians all walked to their stations and selected one item to attach to each armature. They repeated this step until the heads and torsos of each man were covered to complete the Soundsuit. The tableau ended with the technicians leaving the stage, and each man walking around the stage to display his Soundsuit. The mission of the performance was accomplished. The audience was left with visions of creatures and movements from another dimension and an understanding that there are other possibilities.

About Nick Cave Nick Cave is an award-winning performance artist, designer and educator known for his Soundsuits – costumes that remove all traces of identity that might cause viewers to prejudge. He previously studied dance with Alvin Ailey and is now the Director of the fashion design program at the Art Institute of Chicago. To learn more and view his schedule, please visit his website at http://www.nickcaveart. com (


wear CROCHET Avant-Garde Be unique and make your own fashion rules. Set yourself apart from the crowd. Try Polyvore today; it’s a great website that lets you create sets of looks that you love! Special Thanks to all the folks out there who came up with the sets and collections we decided to feature!

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SPECIAL FEATURE Depression Examined by Keturah Malinconico

We all get down in the dumps from time to time. However, when a person cannot get out of that dump and it interferes with everyday life, that person should seek help. What kind of help depends on each situation. Whether it is crafting, charity work or religious and professional help with depression, it is always best to get the help that you need when you feel overwhelmed. I can say from firsthand experience that crafting heals many ailments. Whether it is anxiety or depression, overcoming grief or helping with physical therapy--crafting has been proven scientifically to help with our mental ailments. My story with crafting began when I lost my motherin-law to cervical & ovarian cancer. I was freshly married, had a three-month-old and was taking care of my mother-in-law. There were times when she would love us and then hate us. Her cancer made her feel depressed, while at other times she felt a great deal of joy knowing that she was still alive. Sadly, my mother-in-law lost her battle suddenly within three weeks of treatment, and the family was thrown into a whirlwind of emotions, grief and, for some, despair. Three years later, my father-in-law

suffered a heart attack and was called Home to be with her. When my mother-in-law left this earth, I became depressed. I took it out on retail therapy and began to shop, but shopping did not fill that hole in my heart. I became more obsessive-compulsive in shopping and in making decisions where if I had to choose between two items, I would literally start having a panic attack and hot flashes, because I just could not choose. I bought both. My husband knew I was using shopping to mask grief and depression, and so we tried to handle it some other way. That is when I found knitting and crocheting. Crafting has saved my life. Not only did I stop my retail therapy, but I learned to use my hands. Using your hands in a repetitious way is relaxing, and doctors believe that the rhythm of doing the same thing over and over again helps calm the nerves and brain. If it were not for crafting, my family would have been broke with no savings, and I would have had a harder time adjusting to life. The other thing that helped me heal was helping others. I started a charity project called “Addicted to Granny Squares� where people all over sent in

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which once again helped me heal by using my hands to bring back life into my thoughts, into my home, and help heal the grieving process. This month, I learned of my dear crochet friend Wink’s suicide. I was very saddened and left without words. I remember when we met online after she was left sad and down about a big company using her work without permission, I helped campaign for her cause. It was then that my world of mandalas was opened through Wink’s crochet designs. Since then, she had left comments and likes on my page, and sent me numerous emails and messages just saying “hey girl!” or “congrats” or “I love your kids!”. That was Wink-- she was joyful online and had the most beautiful crochet flowers in the world. She also helped Crochet Savvy Magazine and loved to support us. I ran her ads in almost every magazine issue since her interview. I will miss my dear, dear friend. To heal from this. I will make crochet flowers in her honor. Crafting will once again help me heal. And all over I see our community--the crochet community--coming together to heal. Image © Nihan Aydin

granny squares to make blankets for cancer families and survivors. When we help others, it takes our minds off of our own problems and situations. I highly encourage everyone to help others whenever they feel down, because it truly is a blessing to see people happy and encouraged. Once I turned my thoughts into positive actions by helping others, I really leaped forward. Just last year I lost my dad early due to a stroke. He was in his early 50s. Our family is still healing. I am at a point where I recognize early signs of depression when things occur in life. I am able to see the patterns in my life, therefore I know that when tragedy occurs, I need to find something to do. I chose to learn how to spin yarn after the death of my father

Depression steals away people we love all too quickly. In those moments when we think that there is nothing left to live for- those moments when you want to jump from your building- for those moments when you want to run in front of the subway trainthe cut wrists and the guns to your throat- KNOW and BELIEVE that your life is not just your own. It is all of ours because we are the ones left grieving. When you think that NO ONE loves you, or that you are ALONE- know that we who are left will miss you and cry and feel pain. Children ask where is mommy, where is daddy. People question their beliefs and their god. All of these things come when suicide affects home. I have had three people whom I have known this year alone succumb to depression. IF anyone knows


anyone with depression or anxiety, or know people prone to panic attacks or those always speaking negative, please encourage them, sit and listen to them, befriend them, get to know them and even those of you who pray- pray for them and with them. Really encourage them to live life at the fullest. For changes in mood that interefere with daily living, encourge them to seek help from a doctor and/or clergy. Introduce them to a craft- let them find a hobby that heals them- whether crafting, music or something else. You can help save a life. The National Institute of Mental Health says: “If you know someone who is depressed, it affects you too. The most important thing you can do is help your friend or relative get a diagnosis and treatment.� (See for more information) I am very fortunate to have a great support system, but even then, every once in a while I feel down, or I think of my father not being here anymore and I get sad. I walk around feeling lost, but I see my children playing or making loud noise and I am thankful to be alive. It is times when tragedy hits that we are to be strong and encouraged. Life hurts sometimes, but it is so, so sweet and precious. One day we are here and the next we can be taken away- so befriend each other- be a support to those around you, help other people heal and keep crafting- it truly can save lives. We will miss you, Wink, and appreciate all of your fabulous mandalas. You have made the world even more beautiful with your pretty flowers.

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SPECIAL FEATURE Shock, Sadness, Fear … Thinking About You Wink (A Creative Being) shared with permission from Kathryn Vercillo

that it caused. She shared the depression that she went through post-diagnosis, how it caused her to be hospitalized and how crochet was one of the things that helped her to heal. I didn’t know her personally, in the real world, but I communicated with her many times over the years through various online channels. I was proud and cheered her on as I watched her world expand because of crochet. I know that the craft brought a brightness to her life despite continued dark days.

Join the #MandalasForMarinke project I am sitting here stunned, shocked, saddened, scared … Feeling a world’s worth of emotions that don’t have a proper place in my brain. Marinke, known to many as Wink, of A Creative Being, has succumbed to the depths of depression and taken her own life. I first met Wink when I interviewed her for Crochet Saved My Life. She shared her story with me of living on the autism spectrum and how tough it was to make her way in the world with the social awkwardness

I watched as she became the first presence online to really develop and celebrate the crochet mandala. Before Wink, there were only a few of these designs


available to us. She really brought that design into the forefront, publishing patterns on her site and eventually getting them placed into magazines. It was beautiful to see this journey, her creations so filled with color and intensity and vibrancy and joy and how those designs touched so many lives and really sparked the growth of an area of our craft.

I watched last year as she created the first Sheepjes CAL. This crochet-a-long brought so many people together to create beautiful works of art. She helped strengthen our community in this way and inspired people in ways both big and small. I cheered silently for her as she developed her work into crochet books to reach an even wider audience. She began with Boho Crochet: 30 Hip and Happy Projects and later this year we’ll see the release of her second book, Crochet Mandalas.

Just a week or so ago I named Wink one of 5 Awesome Crochet Designers. When I did that, I looked back on her work as it’s been shared here on my blog. How each December when I did my Awesome Crochet Blog Awards I’d recognized her – for her Sheepjes CAL, her awesome crochet giveaways, her weekly mandala project. Last week, I heard from Flo who asked if I’d seen the post from Wink saying that she was back in depression. I immediately checked it out and felt my heart skip a beat. I sent her an email, telling her that it sounded like she was doing the right things, getting back to the basics of self-care. I said she should reach out if she needed anything. I don’t know if she read that email. Her little sister posted saying that Wink hadn’t survived this struggle with depression. She writes: “It’s funny because when Wink started crocheting she got all her friends and family addicted. During her stay at the hospital even other patients started crocheting and some of them even bought her book! But not me, it just wasn’t something for me to do. I said; “When we get a baby you can crochet a pair of socks or a stuffed animal. But that’s the only crocheted thing in our house!” Last Christmas she gave me a ‘how to crochet’ book, yarn and some hooks. I tried it, I made a square! But that was all. Now, I can’t wait to hang one of her Mandala’s on my wall. It’s Wink! Sadly this had to happen to make me do that.” Her sister’s post is touching and lovely and makes me think of Wink. It shares hard news while celebrating Wink’s accomplishments and relationships, bringing us both sadness and a sense of humor. And it

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acknowledges the reach that Wink had across this huge community. You can see this in the many loving, shocked comments that people have already posted over on that blog.

doing great. She has a loving family, a boyfriend, a huge online community that is so inspired by her … and depression still came back and it got her. I feel like I’m doing all of the right things and yet depression always lurks just around the corner, creating this constant low level hum of anxiety in me. No matter how many books I publish, how many people I connect with online and in person, how much love I have in my life, how right I eat or how properly scheduled my life is or how balanced I keep things, depression can come back. It’s scary. It’s sad.

I don’t know how to describe what I am feeling today. In 2009, I was inches away from taking my own life. I have gotten “better” but I believe that depression is a lifelong condition and although I’m currently in remission it could return at any time. (I recently wrote about this on Diary of a Smart Chick.) Wink’s suicide makes me feel so many things and I have to acknowledge that one of them is fear. Fear that this could happen to anyone I know, anyone else who shared their story in my book, anyone else who I know has been through depression, anyone else like me. Wink, on the surface, seemed to be

When I read the news this morning, so many emotions coursed through me. I immediately reached out to talk to my mom, my dad, my beaux, my school friends. I realized in the midst of one of those conversations that what was happening was that my brain was trying to make sense of where this fits in my own life. The brain sees patterns and tries to put things into their place. And it doesn’t have a place for this. Wink was my friend but I didn’t really


know her. She shared some of her deepest truths with me in our interview and yet we never met in person. She had so many similarities to me and yet she was very different from me. My brain wondered if she had received my email and if there was more that I could have done to help and then immediately chastised itself because all of my personal and academic knowledge says that this is precisely how everyone reacts and there usually isn’t anything more we could have done. It’s not about us. It’s not about me. And yet it’s deeply affecting me. I’m sad, but not in the kind of way where I need to cry (yet?). I’m feeling so much empathy and compassion for her family and friends. I’m feeling a huge connection to my crochet community and wanting to reach out to each of you because I know that this news might affect some of you in various ways as well. I want to do something for Wink, in Wink’s honor, something related to crochet. I don’t know what yet. This news is too new for me to process it. But I’m thinking that we can do something collaborative, perhaps creating mandalas in her honor to be placed somewhere. I’ll organize something soon, something that can bring us together and give us a channel for our feelings and honor the amazing, wonderful, creative, special woman that Wink was. UPDATE: The project has been established. It’s called #MandalasForMarinke. Read about it here. You’ll find FAQ here. Please share!

All photos are works from Wink, previously published on this blog with her permission. Many of them are patterns that you can get free or purchase through her blog or Ravelry.

I have created a topic in her memory on Crochet Saved My Life’s Ravelry group. Please feel free to join and comment in any way that you need to. I want this to be a safe space where we can connect around the topics of depression and suicide. I am personally feeling adrift and in need of connection around this. http://w w Kathryn/

Back in 2013, Wink named me as one of her crochet heroes. No, Wink, you are the hero. I am so, so sorry that depression grasped you and pulled you under. I hope that in the years since your diagnosis you had more good days than bad. I hope that you realized, at least some of the time, the stunning reach that you had to inspire people across the globe with the beauty of your crafting.

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The world has lost a beautiful spirit. Marinke Slump, known to many as Wink, from the blog A Creative Being has succumbed to the struggle with depression and suicide. The online craft community has been devastated. My initial reaction was a painful mix of sadness, shock and fear. In the face of such devastating news I wanted to do all that I could to bring our community together and thus was born the #MandalasForMarinke project.

#MandalasForMarinke This is a collaborative crochet art project designed to honor Wink’s life and work and celebrate her amazing creativity in a way that allows her art to keep inspiring others even though she is now gone. It is intended as a way to help the many affected crafters channel their own grief and complex feelings upon hearing the news. And it

will raise awareness about depression. Get the full details on the project and how to participate here.

FAQ About #MandalasForMarinke Who was Wink? What happened? Marinke was a crochet designer that I met online several years ago when she shared her story for my book Crochet Saved My Life. She was very open on her blog about her struggles with depression. Sadly, she couldn’t win that battle. You can read the post about this from her sister on A Creative Being.


How can I participate in #MandalasForMarinke?

What’s the deadline?

This is a collaborative crochet art project that is accepting crochet mandalas in Wink’s honor. You are invited to send your mandala along with a handwritten (or typewritten) note for the project. All information about what to send and where to send it is here.

Contributions to #MandalasForMarinke should be postmarked by August 31, 2015. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live; if you get them into the mail by 8/31/15 they will be part of the project. If it’s absolutely impossible for you to meet that deadline, contact me (email at bottom of this post) and let’s discuss.

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Do I need to block/ stiffen/ frame my mandala? The crochet mandalas are going to be added to the crochet project in the way that you send them. I will not be doing additional blocking or stiffening on my hand. However, you are welcome to send them as is, fresh off the hook, if you’re happy with the way that they look. I want to make it really easy for everyone to contribute in the way that is right for them. If you want to block, stiffen and/or frame your piece(s), please do so. If you don’t, that’s okay too. You asked for contributions to be made using Wink’s patterns. Is that a requirement? I want to crochet a different mandala. No. You are welcome to send any crochet contributions that are made in Wink’s honor. The reason I specifically wanted people to try to work from Wink’s patterns is because they are so inspiring and the mandalas are really what she was known for most in the world of crochet. I want to see her own work continue to inspire people and live on. That said, if you have any crochet mandala at all, something that you made in the past or from your own design or whatever, it is totally welcome to be included in the project. If you used someone else’s pattern, please include that info in your note to me so that the designer can get recognition. Why mandalas? Wink really brought the crochet mandala pattern into the limelight and it took off throughout the craft world. She used other people’s patterns in creative ways on her blog, creating stunning posts showcasing color inspiration. She created

her own original crochet mandala patterns that so many people have used. Plus the mandala is a meditative item to crochet and can be healing for yourself as you work it. How will this project raise awareness about depression? • Each contribution will be posted online here on Crochet Concupiscence with the story / info the maker has shared and at least one fact about depression. These will be shared widely throughout social media. • The contributions will be collected into an art show in late 2015/early 2016. There will be a depression awareness pamphlet handed out at this art show. • The work will be gathered into a crochet art book and a portion of the proceeds from the sales of that book will go towards an organization to raise awareness about the issue. • After the project is complete, the mandalas will be sent along to send a smile to the faces of those who have been impacted by depression / suicide. How can I follow the posts when they start arriving on Crochet Concupiscence? Want to see all of the contributions? They’ll be here on the blog tagged with MandalasForMarinke. You can subscribe to get this blog’s daily email updates here. Finally, I’ll also be keeping an updated set of links for the contributions at the bottom of this page.


Where will that art show be held? The art show will be held in San Francisco. The exact location is to be determined. Where will the money from the book sales go? Why is only a “portion� going to the organization? The specific organization is yet to be determined. It is important to me to do careful research to

make sure that the right place is selected. It will be an established organization that supports suicide prevention and depression awareness. I will provide an update when an organization has been selected. A portion of the sales from that book will go to the organization. The rest of the money goes to putting the project together, including all of the work that will go into the art show and the publication of the book, spreading the word

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about the project and Wink’s work, etc. The exact amount of donation will be determined based on all of these factors and I will be transparent about that when it has been decided. Where will the mandalas go when the project is done? This is also yet to be determined. There have been several great suggestions: • Returning all mandalas to project contributors but in a random order so that each person affected has a reminder of the strength of this community, their participation in the project and Wink’s legacy. • Donating the mandalas to a psychiatric unit or other similar location so that residents can benefit from the beauty of them as art pieces. • Joining the mandalas into blankets or sending them as is to brighten the lives of someone who has been impacted by suicide. All ideas are being considered. The project is still too new to make a decision. I want everything to happen in the right time and way. I will announce an update when a decision has been made.

No, but we are happy to work hand in hand. #MandalasForWink is a separate project honoring Wink, created by the team at Design Wars. People around the world are asked to share a crochet mandala online with that hashtag to spread Wink’s beautiful inspiration far and wide. Anyone who joins the #MandalasForWink project is absolutely welcome to send that same mandala (or any other crochet mandala) in to the #MandalasForMarinke project as well. I have other ideas about how I’d like to contribute or collaborate. How can I let you know? Contact me via email (kathryn.vercillo on gmail) with your message. I’d love to hear it. Where can I get more information about how crochet helps people heal? You’ll find a roundup of links to my crochet health articles here. mandalasformarinke/

Can I share this page? Yes, please do! The more people we can reach to support each other during this time and celebrate Wink’s work, the better. Make sure to link back here so people know how to participate. Feel free to use either of the photos above in your posts if you want to. Is the #MandalasForWink project the same as #MandalasForMarinke?


CHARITY FOCUS LeVon “Ray” Rhone of Frank Honest Co. by Aldonia Seccession

The Frank Honest Company is a non-profit organization that strengthens the community through information dissemination and charitable giving. We share news articles and provide social commentary through our official blog, frankhonest. com/blogging. Additionally, throughout the year, we provide free crochet and knit items such as scarves, hats, blankets, gloves, etc. to low-income families and families devastated by natural disasters. In 2014, The Frank Honest Company donated over 1,000 items to local shelters in the southeast region. While most of the Frank Honest Company’s work has focused on Atlanta, Georgia, over the years it has assisted several relief efforts during catastrophic events. For example, in 2012 the Frank Honest Company donated handmade items to various churches providing relief for Hurricane Sandy victims. As a result of these experiences, the Frank Honest Company has committed itself to expanding their campaign of giving on an international level. In order to do so we strongly believe that to be effective, competitive and sustainable, we must not only be caring and creative, we must run also our organization as business.

Crochet Savvy: What was the reason behind starting The Frank Honest Co.? LeVon “Ray” Rhone: I took up the hobby of crocheting a few years ago. As I got better at design, people started making requests for certain items--mainly scarves, hats, etc. Some people were willing to pay and others were willing but didn’t have the money to buy one. Then, I asked myself: What if I used the money I made from people buying crocheted items to buy yarn to make products that I can give to the less fortunate free of charge? I created Frank Honest Co. in order to answer that question. CS: What makes The Frank Honest Co. different from other charities? LRR: There are plenty of organizations that have a similar mission as the FHC. What makes us different is our attitude. We are a Black-owned organization, and we deal with issues that affect the AfricanAmerican community. We also support marriage equality, gender equality, and anything that prevents any kind of discrimination. Because of our interests, we don’t get a lot of corporate sponsorship.

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However, we have a strong support base with over 90% of our donations coming from individuals. CS: Does The Frank Honest Co. have a mission statement? LRR: To strengthen the community through information dissemination and charitable giving. CS: Where do you see The Frank Honest Co. in five years? LRR: In five years, the Frank Honest Co. will be able to have a full-time staff and a headquarters in downtown Atlanta. From there we’ll be able to offer free crochet and knit classes. We’ll be able to offer free community events as well as educational workshops. If possible, I’d also like to establish a “Big Brother/Sister” program. CS: Why does The Frank Honest Co. want to go international? LRR: We want to go international, because lack of education and poverty are not just an American issue. It is a global issue that could use as much help as possible. CS: Do you personally crochet and/or knit? LRR: Yes. I’ve been crocheting for six years. I haven’t learned to knit yet, but I want to. I want to learn how to knit socks.

CS: Who else in the Frank Honest Co crochets? LRR: Although it is not mandatory, all of the Frank Honest staff crochets at varying levels. CS: Are the items in the ‘’Thank You’’ packages you send out made by yourself and/or your staff, or are they homemade items sent in as donations? LRR: Both. I make some of the items, but people send in items from all over the US. They know I’ll find a good home for any items that are donated. We also accept yarn as donations, but right now the office is full, so we had to stop accepting yarn until we use what we have. Links (Website) @FrankHonestCo (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest) official Facebook page)


We sell at various events including, but not limited to, the following: Hot Chocolate 5k/15k Run Expo Winddown Wednesdays 4th Sundays at the Apache Café Beerfest A3C Music Conference One Music Fest

CS: Who taught you? LRR: My local library started a crochet and knit group and I attended one of their first meetings. That’s where I started. There…and YouTube. CS: What do you specialize in making? LRR: Personally, I specialize in scarves. But my gloves aren’t half-bad.


cover story

Gina Renay An Awe!Some Crochet Visionary by Julie Sarah-Desjardins

Gina Renay is the self-taught, freestyling visionary of the fashion-tabulous line called AWE!Some Crochet by Gina Renay. She specializes in YOUnique wearable art clothing and accessories with an Afrocentric flair and touches of Victorian, bohemian and folk art influences tossed into the mix. She was born and raised in New York City. A military wife and mother forced to evacuate from Escatawpa, Mississippi, to Atlanta, Georgia, in August 2005 a day before Hurricane Katrina hit, she has unleashed a fury of her own. Having lost 90% of everything to the storm, she has adorned herself with strength, courage and determination to persevere and make a name for herself: “Katrina will not defeat me -you can’t keep this good stitch down!” Her fashions have

been featured on television news, in magazines, in newspapers, in galleries, in music videos, in hair and fashion shows and on her many clients. Crochet Savvy: Your creativity seems to spring directly from the Katrina disaster. How has that event influenced your art?

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Gina Renay: I believe that event had been presented at the time as a life or death situation in that my priorities as a wife and mother were for the safety of our unit. Leaving a day before the disaster proved to be an invaluable lesson in that you must rely on your intuitive senses for self-preservation and then reinvention. Having said all of that, when you are given a talent and have to start from


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“My art in thread is a bold, vibrant expression of avant-garde individuality. I develop a frenzied urgency of spiritual energy fusing the beautiful with the unusual. Each fibrous strand forges a new life of art for tomorrow’s possibilities, today’s vision and yesterday’s strengths. I ardently test and push the boundaries of style by blending art with fashion, creativity with passion and edgy sophistication without apology.” Gina Renay


scratch, you use all of your experiences, especially those heightened in the dark times. It took a long time to heal, but we all survived and crochet was a mainstay. I had to embrace everything, you know, L-I-F-E: the music you listen to, art, movies, books, conversations you enjoy or despise -- everything. You are what you take from these. You are a collective of each and every experience you’ve had and have. Breathe it all in, let it take you away, grow and create daily as a journey, not a destination. I joke that seven days without crochet makes one weak. Inspiration is everywhere.

GR: Presently, I don’t have too many instances in which I choose to make patterns of my pieces. I enjoy the custom and ready-made market for the one of a kind YOUniqueness of a piece. It is hard sometimes to part from it, because you put your heart and soul into it. I have produced very few patterns which caused me to believe it will live on, but, generally, I enjoy that once the vision hits, that initial spark, I’ll tend to ride it out as a finished garment for sale. I have also had to make myself take pictures of my work, because I tend to forget what I have made over the years or even as soon as a month ago (tee hee).

CS: Your crocheted wearable pieces are unique. How do you feel, then, about selling patterns which then are replicated?

CS: Can you explain your teen-preneur crochet coach project? GR: The teen-preneur crochet coach project initially started with my middle daughter in her teens and was meant to have your crochet work be a type of change you want to see in the world, i.e. to give and create from your heart. You are in the moment with each stitch and bringing positivity, and hanging in there until the completion is a discipline. “Each one teach one” to engage in the creative process as well as from the idea of having everything that comes in your mind make a profit for you. CS: How do you feel when you see your creations on your clients’ bodies?

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GR: Wow, that feeling is amazing. I tease them that I want to be a fly on the wall just to listen and observe the reactions they receive -- an active co-participant. It is the same joy they feel wearing a design made by me for them akin to mine as a mom birthing and beaming with pride over accomplishments made -- those are my babies going out into the world. I ask, Who will parent the gifted adult? -- I will by embracing the love to create within. CS: What has been the most memorable lesson learned through this adventure?

Links: ginarenayawesomecrochetcouture

GR: A line from the movie Yentl, “With all there is, why settle for just a piece of sky?” I want More! The lesson would be that perseverance is an ongoing process. It’s the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did (ha!) Yet it is worth it, because I am doing what I love in the moment. It’s all about trusting the process. CS: What do you want to accomplish next? GR: I would want to catch the eye of a sitcom TV producer with a fashionable female cast with the lead rocking something I designed in each episode, but changing it up with a combination of crochet (of course), sewing, and repurposed/ upcycled items to keep them guessing. Also, throw in some cultural influences as well. THEN have me walk on for my two minutes of fame (wink), either as her designer or her inspiration. I don’t have this talent to just pay bills and die (wink). Also, travel the world with my hook, yarn and phone -- my Mobile HookHER Office. Technology has us in its web. With all there is, WHY settle...?


Leslie Urinyi Abandons the Rules and Crochets with Amazing Colors and Textures by Karen Thistle

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I have been actively crocheting since 1958, when I first started making doilies. This was an activity I enjoyed with my grandmother, who taught me how to read patterns and charts— mostly from “Workbasket” magazines. As I got older, in the 1960s, I made afghans: ripple style and granny squares. I made granny square vests—the hippy versions, ponchos and hats. I got to the point that eventually I could not even think of doing another granny square. This is when I began making hats and scarves. Not knowing any better, I never wrote out patterns I made for my creations. I would just sit down, hook and yarn in hand, and make something (Sometimes with lots of frogging). To this day, I don’t get upset when I have to frog an item; I know I’ll make it better the next time around. Colors: We didn’t have a nearby yarn store, but we had Grants in town. In high school, I would take my after-school job monies and go to Grants to buy yarn—bright colors always. These hats were the beginning of my freeform hats. I started making what my mother considered “crazy hats”, and I gave them all away. Craft fairs weren’t that plentiful back then, so I had no outlet. Everyone tells me how much they love the way I mix colors. I am fascinated by color. For many years I wore nothing but black: black turtle necks, black pants, black dresses, and skirts. I would then wear shawls or scarves with mixed, bright colors; so I was like my own canvas for the colors. I would take pictures of flowers, painted houses, water— anything in nature—for inspiration. I just mixed. I have never used a color wheel to help me in my choices, instead, I would go to the hardware store, take the paint chip samples, and cut them up to mix and match colors to get an idea of what I wanted.

Textures: This is a biggie for me, I love texture, so I try to achieve texture in my work by incorporating numerous different stitches. My favorite stitches include: herringbone, half double crochet, crab stitch (reverse single crochet), slip stitch, bobbles, puffs, and popcorn stitches. The bullion stitch is also one of my favorites, and I find it easy to do. I can spend hours just making bullions. I recently found directions for a crunch stitch and I’m in love with the texture it creates. Along with a severe yarn addiction, I also had a severe button addiction. In the 1980s, I started making jewelry with vintage and antique buttons. The pins that I made at that time were collages of many different buttons put together, and I sold them for many years at small local craft shows. At some point, and I can’t exactly remember when, I started playing around with crochet circles and other shapes (what is now called “scrumbles”), and I started making collages with yarn motifs. Around this time, my mother, who sold used books, gave me a copy of A New Look at Crochet: Using Basic Stitches to Create Modern Designs by Elyse Sommers, published in 1975, and I was hooked. We owned an exotic pet bird store in the 1990s, and I started selling some of the hats at the store. Then came the internet. Over the years I found out that I was not alone. There were others out there who did scrumbles: Sylvia Cosh and James Walters, Prudence Mapstone, Margaret Hubert, Myra Wood, and many others. I devoured everything they wrote about freeform. I became a member of the International Freeform Crochet Yahoo group and started participating in some of the challenges. I joined CGOA and went to one of conferences, King of Prussia, where I met Prudence, Margaret, and others.


I entered one hat in the 2009 CGOA Design Contest in Buffalo and received an honorable mention. In the 2010 CGOA Design Contest, I entered my Tree and won Second Place in the Accessories category. Eventually I started selling my hats on Etsy, and people then started asking for patterns of my Freeform/Freestyle Hat with corkscrews and the Freeform/ Freestyle Helmet Hat. I then created a pattern for each and started selling the pdf files on Etsy and Ravelry. To date, I have not sent any pattern submissions to magazines. I prefer to selfpublish. I continued to sell my creations at craft shows and local fiber festivals, and during the winter months, for the last two years, I have been selling them at an art store in the Jersey City, New Jersey historic waterfront area. Creating, in general, is a visual thing for me. I can read patterns and charts, but I prefer to picture something in my head and go from there. There are different ways I create. When making a freeform beret I use a cardboard cake plate, either 10 or 12 inches in diameter. As I make the motifs/scrumbles, I pin them to the cake plate to see how the piece proceeds. If I’m not happy with the arrangement, I move the scrumbles around and repin. When everything is in place, I then proceed to sew it all together. This can take numerous tries before I start sewing.

With the sculptured hats (the “Snow Queen” and the “Tree” hat, for example), I use a Styrofoam head and follow the same process. The Snow Queen ( ) has an openwork mesh foundation, to which I attached or wove different pieces through. The pearls on the Snow Queen were from a floral arrangement I had in the house. I broke it down, took its pearls that were strung on metal wires, wrapped yarn around them tightly; then secured them into the scrumbles. The nature of how I create makes it hard to write patterns for my creations. The original freeform hat with corkscrews, and the freeform “Helmet” hat that I made years ago, had many different stitches and textures within the design. When people

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started asking me for a pattern, I broke the hat down to just the bobbles, half double crochets, and single crochets (a watered-down version so to speak). I do encourage people who purchase the patterns to experiment with different textures and yarns to create something different using my basic patterns. I mix many different yarn textures and sizes in my hats, I compensate for the differences in gauge by changing hook size. More Background: I do draw and paint; mostly abstracts. I have been a doodler for years. The brown paper bags we once used to cover our schoolbooks usually ended up as a massive doodle by the end of the school year. Today I create doodles that are mostly done in micron black pens. I have added watercolor to many of them. As soon as we get more settled in from our move, I am going to start making poured acrylic paintings on canvas; another wonderful exercise in freeform work with color. My advice to anyone wanting to start freeform: Block out all the rules you have learned and let your mind flow; just create, experiment, and relax. Look everywhere for textures and design. For example, the new mattress we purchased has a wonderful wavy design on it. I’m working on creating a scarf with that wonderful design. The last few years, I have slowed down somewhat: a few minor crises, and the impending move to Florida from New Jersey, downsizing 27 years of furniture, yarn, antiques, yarn, collectibles, yarn—you get the idea. I shut down my website, but will be creating a new one shortly now that we are settled in at our new home.

zanygrey’s freeform crochet and knit! WOOL MOUNTAIN STUDIO I have participated in the International Freeform Crochet Guild Annual Challenge in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008: Professional member CGOA International Freeform Crochet Guild challenge books leslie%20nu.html leslienu.html leslienu.html woolmountain on Ravelry woolmountain on FB

I continue to sell patterns on Ravelry (woolmountain) and Etsy (woolmountain) and have two blogs:


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Yvette Wilson Crochet Unplugged by Melanie Cheripka

I am Yvette, and I am the owner and creative

and a weaving loom that I practiced on. I

director of Crochet Unplugged. I was taught

would make small items like jewelry and

the art of crochet at the tender age of nine

potholders for my grandmother who had an

when I was a Girl Scout Brownie in the 4th

appreciation for the crafts I made for her.

grade. I also owned a small knitting machine

Spending hours upon hours transforming yarn into fabric was no problem, because it simply captivated me. Fast-forward a few years to the age of 13, when I learned how to sew in my 8th grade home economics class with my best friend. As time went on, I put the crochet hook down and didn’t pick another one up until the Spring of 2001, when shopping WalMart late one night caused me to “remember” that I once crocheted as a pastime. I purchased a kit, and everything came back to me with ease. I haven’t stopped since. I crocheted to relieve stress and for relaxation while in college as a full-time, non-traditional student. (I returned to college to complete my degree at the age of 33.) I began with making items such as belts, scarves, bags, and baby clothes from my own original designs, no patterns...just from what

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I imagined. I even taught a couple of young ladies the basics of chaining and how to use different crochet stitches. After I received my degree, as a homemaker, stay-athome mom to my two boys, and an Army wife who had been thrust into Army living, I joined MySpace in the company and circle of hundreds of other women who were displaying and selling their crochet items online there. A lady with a shop on Etsy approached me about selling and helped me to open an Etsy shop, hence the conception of Crochet Unplugged. Crochet Unplugged simply means that it is my hands that actually work the crochet, rather than it being manufactured or produced by a machine. I have a small studio in the basement of my mother’s home. It’s a space that allows me to store my yarn stash, notions, books, and more stash. I sell my items through Etsy’s online venue for handmade items at www.CrochetUnplugged. I do use patterns, but at times I will

and accessories. Among some of the mediums that I craft with are wool, bamboo, silk, cotton, tencel, and acrylic yarns. I also embellish with beads, feathers, buttons, etc. My favorite designs are steampunk, and the Victorian/Edwardian era fashion.

create apparel without one. Currently, most items that I craft are apparel


Links to Crochet Unplugged:

Etsy: Twitter: Facebook: CrochetUnplugged Find me on Ravelry as CrochetUnplugged

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Profile for Knit Fabulous & Crochet Savvy

Special Issue 2015 - Avant-Garde Crochet  

Crochet Savvy Magazine | Special Issue 2015 | August Avant-Garde Crochet This is our 2015 special issue, and it features avant-garde croche...

Special Issue 2015 - Avant-Garde Crochet  

Crochet Savvy Magazine | Special Issue 2015 | August Avant-Garde Crochet This is our 2015 special issue, and it features avant-garde croche...