Friday, March 21, 2014

Go Crochet Crazy "Spring Fling Link-a-Long"

If you heard any whooping and hollering yesterday, it was surely me welcoming in the first day of spring. With a snowier-and-colder-than-normal winter in the Chicago area, I've been "thinking spring" for weeks now just to keep my sanity intact. Finally, it's here, and I began the celebration by showcasing some lovely yarn colors and upcoming projects in yesterday's blog post

To continue the celebration, instead of the usual "It's Finally Friday Link-a-Long", today's link party (which runs through Sunday night) is a Spring Fling! 
Starting this week, I'm introducing a featured link from the previous Link-a-Long!..............

Last Week's Most Popular Link:



Grab Your "I Was Featured at Go Crochet Crazy" Button to display on your blog!

I was featured at Go Crochet Crazy

Here's the Code to Copy & Paste:

<div align="center"><a href="http://www.gocrochetcrazy.blogspot.com/" title="I Was Featured at Go Crochet Crazy"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-k3ThqaXUHU0/UyuFGC-w5hI/AAAAAAAAAnQ/jV9UMaRRrBw/s1600/I+was+Featured.jpg" alt="I was featured at Go Crochet Crazy" style="border:none;" /></a></div>



Who Can Join In?

Rather than focusing solely on crochet or other crafty things, I'm inviting anyone with spring-themed blogs, Pinterest pins, or linkable images to participate. Make sure that whatever you choose falls under the categories of crochet or other yarn creations, crafts, home & gardening, DIY, cooking and decor. It doesn't have to have bunnies, chicks, eggs or other overtly spring-y themes. If you would eat it, use it, wear it, make it or show it off during springtime, it belongs in this Spring Fling.

Before I get to the Spring Fling Guidelines, if you have any doubts that participating in link parties is okay, please read my blog post here. It will put your concerns to rest.

Go Crochet Crazy "Spring Fling Link-a-Long" Guidelines

  1. Add links for up to three of your blog posts (not just your home page) using the ADD YOUR LINK button below.
  2. Leave a comment on two other blog posts or pins, letting them know you found them through the Go Crochet Crazy Spring Fling Link-a-Long. If you're one of the first two to the party, you can comment on the last one or two from this Link-a-Long from last week. Please feel free to comment on more, if you like. We all LOVE to get comments.
  3. Share this post through Google+, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook...that's more exposure for everyone joining the link-a-long.
  4. Let your readers know you've joined the Go Crochet Crazy Friday Link-a-Long by linking to this post in text on your blog. You can text link to this URL:
    http://gocrochetcrazy.blogspot.com/2014/03/go-crochet-crazy-spring-fling-link-long.html or the following badge:

I joined the fun at the Go Crochet Crazy Link-a-Long
Link-a-Long Badge Code


<div align="center"><a href="http://www.gocrochetcrazy.blogspot.com/" title="Join the fun at the Go Crochet Crazy Link-a-Long"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mtAOdTfZ1tE/Uyw9ajgFVLI/AAAAAAAAAng/qPPlkNg3NFs/s1600/Link-a-Long+Badge.jpg" alt="I joined the fun at the Go Crochet Crazy Link-a-Long" style="border:none;" /></a></div>



This Week I'm Linking Up With This Weekend:

Easy Life Meal & Party Planning "Four Seasons Blog Hop"

Crochet Addict UK "I've Made Friday" 

Krafty Inspiration Thursday Link Party

Natasha in Oz "Say G'Day Saturday"

Life on Lakeshore Drive: 
http://www.lifeonlakeshoredrive.com/2014/03/its-bouquet-of-talent-party-time-and.html?m=1

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Think Spring -- Yarn Colors & Crochet Projects

At exactly 12:57pm, the winter season will be over and it will be time to think spring! I have to tell you, since I arrived in Chicago two months ago to visit my family, I've been clinging to the knowledge that spring would eventually arrive. Finally, the big day has arrived. Even though it's still somewhat chilly in the Chicago area, signs of spring have been showing up, like the robins singing their songs as I take my walk.

In an effort to make myself feel more spring-like, I've been turning to some delicious, yarny colors and crochet projects that scream "Spring" (and summer) to me.

A lovely yarn selection for an upcoming giant granny afghan with Cath Kidston-inspired colors.
A basket full of yarn for an upcoming Cath Kidston-inspired afghan.
Fun colors that say "spring" and "summer"!
Four skeins that remind me of Scooby Doo's Magic Machine. Designated for a summer afghan.

Cotton yarn is perfect for springtime projects such as baby bonnets and spa cloths.
Cotton yarn for springtime baby bonnets...
 Cotton yarn is perfect for springtime projects such as baby bonnets and spa cloths.
and spa cloths
While happily dreaming about springtime while choosing all the above yarny delights, I've also been working on my first official springtime project -- my Lazy Daze Poncho, which is an upcoming pattern and original Go Crochet Crazy design!

When I work on a new design, I like it to be perfect because I know other crocheters are putting their trust in me when they follow my patterns. From the first stitch to the last, I've loved the yarn I'm working with and the design I've come up with. With great anticipation and excitement, I finished my poncho this past Monday, only to discover that it was about 2 feet too long. And not in the way that could be helped by unraveling a few rows. I had to unravel the entire thing. But I believe if you're going to do something, do it right! Especially when other crocheters will use the pattern. So, after going back to the drawing board with my design measurements, I'm now more than halfway done with my poncho-in-progress.

Go Crochet Crazy Lazy Daze Poncho in Progress
Five skeins -- crocheted, unraveled, rolled up and reworked again.
Do you have any spring-theme projects coming up or ones that you're working on now? How about some deliciously spring-colored yarns you're anxious to use? Let me know in the comments what you're working on and be sure to come back tomorrow through Sunday for the Spring Fling Link-a-Long where I'll invite anyone with spring-themed blog posts from the categories of crochet, crafts, home & gardening, DIY, cooking and decor to join the party. I can't wait to hear about and see all the spring things you're working on! Yay for springtime!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Low-Down on Link Parties -- Are Link Parties Okay?

The concept of link parties or blog hops was introduced to me shortly after I began my Go Crochet Crazy blog. Although I've been blogging for myself and clients for years, I was new to the concept of #linkups and immediately liked the idea. One of my biggest motivating factors for starting this blog was due to my desire to share my passion for crochet and connect with others who have a love for all things yarny or crafty. Link parties seemed like a great way to share in one anothers projects and encourage fellow bloggers to keep going.

As I result, I hosted one of my first link parties -- I call them Link-a-Longs -- with a theme of Free Pattern Friday.

Then someone on Google+ informed me that link parties were against Google policy, that they skewed search engine results and were generally not okay to use. I admit I was taken aback; I couldn't see the harm in encouraging fellow bloggers to share their work or provide me the opportunity to share mine. A second time I was told that link parties were against Google policy. At that point, the writer/researcher in me kicked in.

Are Link Parties a Violation of Google Policy -- The Short & Long Answer

The short answer is "no, they are not a violation of Google policy"; as long as you're using a link widget such as InLinkz or Mr. Linky, you are not violating Google's policy against link parties. In the long answer below, I'll provide you with more information about this so you can feel secure in hosting and promoting link parties or blog hops on your blog.

The long answer is that Google does not allow link schemes that can, in any way, manipulate PageRanks. These PageRanks have nothing to do with what "page" you show up on in a search, rather they're named after a man named Larry Page. According to Wikipedia, "PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites." You can read more about that here.

You might be wondering how the use of link widgets allows bloggers to host link parties without violating Google's policy. The answer is simple. Since I use InLinkz (you can check them out through this link so they know you found them through the Go Crochet Crazy blog), I'm basing the remainder of my answer on the information they supply their users.

InLinkz widgets are NoFollow; this is the only option allowed. What is NoFollow? NoFollow part of an HTML code that instructs a search engine not to influence the linked website's ranking in search engine results. There's more information to read here, if you like. But the point is, a link widget such as InLinkz or Mr. Linky offers a link party or blog hop option that IS compliant with Google's policy against link schemes.

Prior to doing my research, I was planning to stop hosting weekly Link-a-Longs. I was feeling pretty discouraged about not being able to encourage others to share and visit one anothers work...this is what a link-a-long, link party or blog hop is all about, in my opinion! But now that I know this method of hosting a party is compliant with Google's policy, I can excitedly go forth with my weekly Link-a-Long that begins each Friday and runs through the weekend. I invite you to join in each week if you're a crochet or crafty blogger. But this Friday, I'm pleased to announce, is going to be the Go Crochet Crazy Spring Fling Link-a-Long and anyone can participate with spring-themed blogs that fall under the categories of crochet, crafts, home & gardening, DIY, cooking and decor. I look forward to linking along with all of you, and now that this is all settled, we can get back to the business of crocheting, crafting, blogging and connecting!!



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Four Infinity Scarf Patterns to Keep You Warm -- A New Pattern eBook

Amidst the three crochet projects I've been working on simultaneously, my blogging here and my regular writing work, I've been busy writing a new pattern eBook! The Twisted Infinity scarf I finished the other day was the last of the four patterns I wanted to create for my pattern book. With it finished and photographed, I can finally say "Ta-da!" or "Voila!" and present my next (but not last!) crochet pattern eBook.

Enjoy crocheting three beginner and one intermediate infinity scarf pattern for yourself or to give as gifts.
This pattern eBook was a labor of love. As I created each pattern, writing it as I stitched, I made alterations along the way. I put myself in your shoes, carefully considering the projects you might enjoy and find useful, as well as those that offer a bit of challenge and a learning opportunity. My sincerest hope is that you will find all of the above in my newest crochet pattern book, Four Infinity Scarf Patterns to Keep You Warm. If you like, while you're browsing, you can see my other books here.

With that accomplishment crossed off my Crochet To-Do list, I'm going to diligently continue working on my Lazy Daze Poncho (WIP pictured below), which is just a thrill to crochet because I love the yarn I'm using.  Even the name of the color -- Watercolor -- fills me with yarny pleasure! The Lazy Daze Poncho will be my next published pattern, which leads me to a question...as a consumer, do you prefer patterns of single items or do you like a pattern book that offers a few crochet patterns in one? Your thoughts and feedback are most appreciated! Wishing you a Happy, Crafty Sunday!


Made with scrumtious Redheart Boutique Treasures in "Watercolor", this gorgeous poncho is a WIP for an upcoming pattern book.
Lazy Daze Poncho -- a Go Crochet Crazy WIP