Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Secret about Crafter's Secret Yarn (and My First Giveaway!)

A couple weeks before my visit back home in the Chicago area ended, I went on a yarn-shopping trip to Hobby Lobby to select some yarn for a Cath Kidston-inspired afghan I'm making. I was perusing the choices when, out of the corner of my eye, a few skeins of brightly colored yarn practically leapt off the shelf at me. As if the colors weren't enough to attract me, the label wrapped around each skein sealed the deal...I had to see just exactly what they were.

I know I'm not familiar with every brand of yarn, but I feel like I'm pretty well-versed with what the area craft stores carry. But this brand...I'd never seen it before. A bright-colored label, boasting pretty flowers, ferns, a ball of yarn and knitting needles told me the brand was called "Crafter's Secret". Whatever Crafter's Secret was, I needed to be let in on it, then and there.

I picked up a brilliant turquoise blue skein of Crafter's Secret yarn and took a closer look at the label. "Who makes this wonderfully packaged, colorful skein of yarn?" I wondered. A turn of the label was all I needed to find the answer: Hobby Lobby. It was one of Hobby Lobby's own brands.

Admittedly, I've not used a lot of Hobby Lobby brand yarns. I'm currently working on my second project with their "I Love This Cotton" and have to say it's the softest cotton yarn I've ever used, and I really, really like it. Knowing that a purchase of any of the Crafter's Secret yarns would be based purely on "want" and not "need", I selected these four skeins and added them to my already overflowing shopping basket.

Now do you see why I couldn't pass them up?! Being a writer and a researcher, I went directly home to my computer to see what else I could find out about Crafter's Secret. And here's what I found: nothing. Still, nothing would put a damper on the delight I felt at finding such beautiful yarn.

In this post about my early springtime projects, I shared the above picture. Soon after, I received several emails as well as questions through social media about Crafter's Secret -- what was it? Where did it come from? What colors did the yarn come in? Was it true that Hobby Lobby was going to do away with other brands and only sell there's? They were all good questions, and I wanted to know the answers just as much as everyone else did. So the writer/researcher in me went to work.

Yesterday, I connected with a very nice customer service specialist at Hobby Lobby whom we'll call A. I enlisted A's help so I could dig deeper and find out for myself and everyone else what the low-down was on Crafter's Secret. Here's what I learned:

Information on Crafter's Secret Yarn
  •  Crafter's Secret is indeed a Hobby Lobby brand and will be sold only at Hobby Lobby stores. 
  • Area buyers have sole discretion over the yarns each store carries. There's no way to shed light on which yarns will be carried and which ones won't due to the fact that stock varies per area.
  • At this time, there are 34 colors in the Crafter's Secret line.
  • At the time of purchase, in a Chicago area store, I paid $2.99 for each 7-ounce (199 grams) skein. 
Now for the fun part...the colors. You see, Crafter's Secret yarn appealed to me for another reason. The names are unique, fun and full of life. Orange isn't orange, blue isn't blue, and yellow isn't yellow. Of course, they are to the eye. But the label gives each color a name and personality all it's own.

And that's where the contest and giveaway come in!

While talking to Hobby Lobby Customer Service Specialist A., I requested a list of color names so I would be able to tell you how many color choices there are and what they are. I'm going to give you all the color names (except one that's abbreviated and is even a mystery to me...I couldn't crack the code!), which leads to the contest....

How to Play
  1. Look over the color names, and guess the names of the four skeins of yarn pictured in this post. 
  2. In the comment area, leave your guess in the order the skeins are pictured, from top to bottom. 
  3. You may guess as often as you wish, with each guess being in a separate comment.
  4. Guesses will be taken until the end of the day on Wednesday (April 2nd).
  5. Whomever guesses them all correctly (or comes closest), wins!
The Prize

Now I'd love to say that the prize is four skeins of Crafter's Secret but, unfortunately, I'm overseas now and can't get to a Hobby Lobby to buy and ship it. Instead, I will give the winner a PDF copy of my first two crochet pattern eBooks, Crochet Crazy Baby Cocoon & Matching Hat Patternsand Four Infinity Scarf Patterns to Keep You Warm.If there are many, many contestants, I'll probably be inclined to give a copy of one to the runner-up, as well. But there's got to be more than at least 10 guessers for that.  The color list is below.

Crafter's Secret Colors:

SKU#          Color Name

704890        ALPINE SNOW
401778        KYOTO PEARL
411561        PEARL FLECK
548982        SAMOAN SAND
705277        MAGNOLIA WAY
109157        BRISBANE BROWN
516666        WARSAW
763102        HONEY RIDER
233643        SUMMER MAGIC
516781        PASSPORT
317404        I LOVE CAMO!
542415        JINX
705640        I'M JEALOUS
705590        PEPPER.COM
669077        BIG APPLE RED
705558        BLACK CHERRY
591768        CKFLKCHERRY (this is the mystery one I can't figure out, maybe you can!)
705517        PRINCESS
109207        PASSION
316992        ARE WE THERE YET?
549006        MIAMI BEAT!
705665        LIL BUTTERCUP
516807        GONE WISHIN'
669085        A GRAPE FIT!
764944        NOSEGAY
590505        UNFORGETTABLE
705293        BLUE MOON
705319        MIDNIGHT TEAL
404186        HYDRANGEA
317412        ROAD HOUSE BLUES
500926        RUSSIAN NAVY
109181        FABULOUS
542332        SPLASH
232553        CASTLE ROCK

So, now you know the secret of Crafter's Secret. If you've got a Hobby Lobby near you, I encourage you to give it a try. My four luscious skeins will be made into a summer afghan in bright, happy colors that remind me of flower, the beach, carefree summer days and the wind blowing in my hair. I look forward to hearing what you think of Crafter's Secret, and...

Let the contest begin!!

UPDATE: And the winner is....Quiltzyx (aka Sue) who guessed two of the four names correctly! Congratulations Sue!

From top to bottom, the yarn colors I have pictures are:
  • Splash (turquoise blue)
  • Passion (raspberry pink)
  • Are We There Yet? (orange)
  • Miami Beat! (yellow) 
Thank you to everyone who participated in my giveaway! I look forward to hosting the next one soon. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

"It's Finally Friday" Link-a-Long at Go Crochet Crazy: Theme -- March MADEness!

Welcome, Everyone, to this week's Go Crochet Crazy #LinkParty ! That's not an error in the title...this week's theme is March MADEness...meaning anything homemade or handmade in the month of March. Let's celebrate the last weekend of March (can you believe it?) by showcasing things we've made during the month.

 Share your blogs, Pinterest pin, or linkable image of homemade/handmade items that fall under the categories of crochet or other yarn creations, crafts, home & gardening, DIY, cooking and decor. Please keep it family friendly, and by joining the link party you give me permission to share your additions through social media venues, such as Pinterest and Twitter. Of course, you will be credited for them.

And, without further adieu, here are....

Last Week's Most Popular Links:

Congratulations, and 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="" title="I Was Featured at Go Crochet Crazy"><img src="" alt="I was featured at Go Crochet Crazy" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Before I get to the It's Finally Friday Link-a-Long 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 "It's Finally Friday" 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: 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="" title="Join the fun at the Go Crochet Crazy Link-a-Long"><img src="" alt="I joined the fun at the Go Crochet Crazy Link-a-Long" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
An InLinkz Link-up
This Weekend I'm Linking Up With:

Crochet Addict UK "I've Made Friday"  
Create with Joy Friendship Friday 
Natasha in Oz Say G'Day Saturday
Beauty Observed Link Party

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Big Reveal: My Lazy Daze Crochet Poncho

Those who crochet or craft regularly usually spend the bulk of their time creating items and gifts for other people. If you're like me, you delight in knowing that you're investing your time, craft and heart into something that others will find use in. Because I'm so far away from family much of the year, crocheting things for them makes me feel closer. But in the midst of finishing a soft, cozy lapghan for the couch in my Chicago-area home and the last of four infinity scarves made for my recently released pattern eBook, I also found time to make something special for myself!

It all started when I spied this single skein of yarn...missing its label and slightly a bin at Hobby Lobby. After a bit of detective work, I discovered that it's Red Heart Boutique Treasures in Watercolor. Isn't that a scrumptious sounding name?

Although I was already up to my eyeballs in crochet projects, I instantly knew what this yarn wanted to become and added the project to my list. From start to finish, it was an inspired piece of work I've called my Lazy Daze Poncho.

I designed the Lazy Daze Poncho with my Q hook in mind, which I inherited from my grandma, because the yarn has an airy look to it. The combination of extra-large crochet hook, the yarn and a chunky stitch makes the Lazy Daze Poncho ideal for keeping extra warm in the winter or as a lighter cover-up during spring and fall. Here it is as a work-in-progress....

Lazy Daze Poncho by Go Crochet Crazy using Red Heart Boutique Treasures in Watercolor
And now for the Big Reveal! Are you ready?! Drum roll, please.....

Big Reveal: Lazy Daze Poncho by Go Crochet Crazy

Lazy Daze Poncho by Go Crochet Crazy using Red Heart Boutique Treasures in Watercolor

After having to completely unravel my first attempt (I miscalculated my measurements and made it too long), I've perfected my pattern directions and was able to have this finished and ready to wear after four days. It kept me warm on the flight from Chicago to Rhineland, Germany and I've worn it on a few other occasions. Each time, I've received compliments on the colors and design.

The Lazy Daze Poncho pattern is part of another upcoming crochet pattern eBook that I'm currently working on. Additionally, I want to encourage you to check out Red Heart's Boutique Treasures line because the yarn is to die for and their color combinations are gorgeous. I think, like me, you'll be inspired to crochet something beautiful that you can wear and enjoy often. 

Today I'm Linking Up With:

Crochet Addict What You Doing Wednesday?
Small Things Fiber Arts Yarn Along Wednesday
Oombawka Design Link and Share Wednesday
Krafty Inspiration Thursday Link Party 
Four Seasons Blog Hop 
Hello Little Home Birthday Link Party
Natasha in Oz Say G'Day Saturday

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Crochet Crazy Life on the Other Side of the Atlantic Ocean

Springtime was waiting for me when I arrived in Germany yesterday. After 3 1/2 years here, I'm familiar with the earlier arrival of spring, which comes about two months before its arrival in the Chicago area. The warmer temperatures, the green grass, spring flowers and flowering trees were an especially welcome sight after the cold, harsh winter I experienced in Chicago this year (more about that in this blog post).

Even though I don't sleep on the long flight over (I'm just not one of those people who can fall asleep in moving vehicles), I always make myself stay awake the entire day for a faster recovery from jet lag and a quicker adjustment to the seven-hour time difference. To keep myself busy yesterday, I went out to say hello to my favorite, familiar country walking path.

Narcissus and daffodils are blooming everywhere.

Front yard gardens made me smile with their colorful displays.

This poplar tree-lined path is a favorite, peaceful walking place.
The path around the old abbey is pretty no matter what the season.

The birds were singing in the cherry tree and forsythia in bloom across the creek.

Freshly tilled fields mean the farmers will soon be planting.
I wasn't the only one enjoying the fresh spring air.

Apple blossoms in bloom...what's not to love about that?
Even with a long trip from Chicago to the Rhine area of Germany, I still made time for crochet. Even if it's only for five minutes, I need to have a hook in my hand and work with yarn. Crochet is something I enjoy, but it's also part of who I am. Last night I finished a project I began last week in Chicago and also worked on in-flight -- a cotton infinity scarf for my daughter, S.

Variegated White, Black and Gray Cotton Infinity Scarf by Go Crochet Crazy
And I finally began my much-anticipated Cath Kidston inspired Giant Granny Rectangle Afghan! I've been drooling over the yarn I purchased and am delighted to show you the beginnings of the project.

Finally working with these skeins...
The first rounds of a Cath Kidston Inpsired Giant Granny Rectangle Afghan by Mary at Go Crochet Crazy.
....ta-dah! The beginning of my afghan!
I've been here for about 30 hours (10 of which were spent sleeping) and now you can see what I've been up to....besides spending time with M, of course! What have you been doing the past couple days? Are there any signs of spring where you're at?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How Many Skeins of Yarn Fit in a Crochet Crazy Suitcase?

Oh my. Time to pack and head eastward toward the land of sauerkraut, Oktoberfest and medieval castles. On the other side of the Atlantic awaits my boyfriend M, who's been enjoying a very spring-like winter with extra motorbike rides while I've been freezing my tootsies off in Chicagoland. As hard as it is to leave my family, all good things must come to an end (including the Spring Fling Link-a-Long which closes tonight). I know I will return as soon as possible.

Packing is a problem when traveling between continents. My time in Germany has taught me to appreciate the little things even more and has opened my eyes to some of the things we all take for granted in red and green-colored sugar for Christmas cookies, flavored coffee creamer and canned pumpkin (all things I must admit to having minor meltdowns about at one time or another). I've removed clothing from my suitcase to make room for baking supplies or other things I knew I wouldn't be able to find in Germany. Could I just use a second suitcase? Sure, but at $70-125 a pop, I choose to go the creative route and get it all into one suitcase under the 50 pound limit.

This time the packing conundrum is not over baking supplies or Christmas presents, but yarn. There have been times when I've sacrificed the yarn for other things (can you believe it?!), but I wouldn't DARE do that now. Yarn and crochet have become too integral to my daily life, my joy and sometimes my sanity to leave my new yarn purchases behind.

The brands I love in the US are not available in Germany unless I order them online at a much higher price plus expensive international shipping. Although I have found yarn there that I like, when you live in another country it's just nice sometimes...and very have things from home.

Over the course of my visit here, I've purchased these scrumptious yarns for some fun crochet projects which I talked about here...

And now for the moment of truth. Here they are packed in my suitcase...

Leaving me just a little bit of space for my clothing, five pairs of shoes and my toiletry bag. Oh my. I'm intent on not leaving my yarn behind.

So, how many skeins of yarn fit into a Go Crochet Crazy person's suitcase? The answer is: 25. Now you see what happens when you Go Crochet Crazy!

As you read this blog post, I am either at the airport or somewhere between the Midwest and Germany. I don't say goodbye because that's too difficult; just "see you soon".

So, see you soon robins, redwing blackbirds, cardinals and downy woodpeckers who come to my bird feeders. See you soon furry friends, Alice, Ernie, Sophie and Patches. See you soon baseball field and nearby farms, and funnily enough, Walmart, where I can buy all the things I miss when I'm overseas. Most of all, see you soon family members friends. I will start missing you the minute I leave.

But my travels have taught me that after every "see you later", there's always a "hello". Soon I will say "hello" to the horses on the nearby farms and the myriad birds that flock to the fields for tasty morsels. I'll say hello to our small Mayberry-like town with the slower-paced lifestyle that reminds me of life here in the 1970s. I'll walk down the poplar tree-lined path that leads me past fields of flowers and whatever vegetables the farmers are growing this year, and say hello to the beauty of nature I feel fortunate to be surrounded by. And, most of all, I'll say hello to boyfriend M, who's been patiently waiting for me these last several weeks.

And, finally, to's "see you in a bit!"...from a different time zone, but still the same me...going crochet crazy as ever.