Monday, November 30, 2015

Hook to Heal by Kathryn Vercillo

I am so excited to be able to present you the newest book of Kathryn Vercillo "Hook to Heal"! 

Q: What is Hook to Heal?

A: Hook to Heal is my 2015 book of creativity exercises that all use crochet to help people improve their lives in myriad ways. There are exercises that help with building self-esteem, letting go of negative habits, improving relationships and finding balance. Some of the exercises are tangible, some are abstract, but they are all designed to inspire people to use the art and creativity of crochet to enhance their own quality of life.

Q: What is the format of the book?

A: The book begins with an introduction that explains the purpose of the book and how to use it. I recommend a set of tools that will assist you through the journey, although I encourage everyone to use this book in the way that best suits him or her. Each chapter is about one topic, such as building self-esteem, and it begins with an introduction to the topic that includes my own experiences with the issue and sometimes my graduate school research into the topic. Then you’ll find the exercises for that chapter. Each exercise is explained in brief, then in detail, and includes tips and sometimes examples. The book is designed to be used from start to finish but each exercise does stand on its own as well.

Q: Why aren’t there any photos in this book?

A: Great question! I originally intended to have photos throughout the book, but through a long editing process decided not to include them after all. This book is not intended to teach crochet (although it shares a list of resources for that) and it is not a book of crochet patterns. It’s a creativity book; and all of my own personal favorite creativity books are text-only or text-rich books. (There is a list of these recommended books in Hook to Heal, one example is The Artist’s Way series by Julia Cameron.) I came to feel, in part, that including my own photos of the process could actually discourage some people from really delving deeper with their own process. Whether or not we want to, we tend to compare ourselves to others, and I didn’t want people to look at my examples and see them as a “right” way to do this work, because the only right way is the way that you’re inspired to approach it.

Q: What is your favorite exercise in the book?

A: There is no way that I could choose! Each one is designed to help you work on something different. In fact some exercises completely contradict each other – one will encourage you to de-stash your yarn, another to go buy new yarn. That’s because in life we require different things at different times. I do want to say that
I’ve worked through every single exercise in this book, not only when I designed the exercise but again later when I needed to use them for my own creative process, and I fully believe that each exercise can help you at the right time. Not every exercise is going to be right for every single person but hopefully the range here will allow everyone to find something that they need at any given time.

Q: How is Hook to Heal different from your previous book, Crochet Saved My Life?

A: There are definitely some similarities between the two books. They are both about how crochet can help you through various difficulties in life. They both share portions of my own personal story. And they both come directly from the heart of my own experience. Crochet Saved My Life also shared stories from other women, and it’s more focused on how crochet helps with mental and physical health conditions. In contrast, Hook to Heal is a set of exercises (not stories), and it’s about working through everyday stressors and difficulties without a specific emphasis on health issues. They are complementary to each other.

Q: Where can we buy the book?

A: Hook to Heal is an independently published labor of love (and hard work). If that’s something that you believe in, then the best place to purchase the book is through Createspace, because that allows me to get the most back in royalties: However, not everyone will want to use that channel for various reasons, and that’s totally fine. The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Kathryn generously shares one of her exercises from the book

Mindfulness Crochet Exercise #5: Increased Breathing Triangle

In this exercise, you will crochet a triangle and as you do so your breathing will get deeper and deeper.

First you’ll start your triangle. You can use any simple crochet triangle pattern of your choosing. Here is one example of making a basic crochet triangle:

Ch 2, sc in second chain from hook, turn.

Chain 1, turn, increase, chain 1, turn. NOTE: increase means that you crochet two stitches in the single stitch that is there.

Now for each subsequent row, you will increase in the first and the last stitch and will just sc in all other stitches. NOTE: increase means that you crochet two stitches in each of the first and the last stitches of the row and one stitch in every other stitch across each row.

The breathing part is what brings you to meditation. For each odd numbered row, you will inhale throughout the row. For each even numbered row, you will exhale. So you’ll inhale as you start the triangle, then you will exhale on row two, inhale on row three, exhale on row four, etc. You want to start the breath on each turn and continue it all the way through to the end of the row. You will always be exhaling for a beat longer than you inhaled on the previous row. Eventually, you will reach a row where you can no longer exhale or inhale to the end of the row. That’s when the mindfulness exercise is complete. At this stage, you could frog the work. Alternatively, you could finish off and over time you’ll have a large set of triangle motifs that will remind you of your meditation progress. Turn them into a blanket or wall art display!
About the author

Hook to Heal is authored by Kathryn Vercillo, the blogger behind Crochet Concupsicence ( and the author of Crochet Saved My Life ( She writes regular columns for Interweave Crochet print magazine and Happily Hooked digital magazine. She also writes regularly about crochet health for Lion Brand blog, does tutorials for Red Heart Yarn and is a Craftsy crochet blogger. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Knitsy Feature


The latest issue of Knitsy magazine is out and I am so happy to share that my Bobble Ripple Set is featured inside.

You haven't heard of Knitsy before? Let me fill you in!

It is a one-of-a-kind, monthly digital magazine devoted to the fiber arts. Celebrating the classic and modern fiber arts traditions, Knitsy's interactive features engage knitters and crocheters worldwide.

You will love swiping through Knitsy's pages packed with features on internationally renowned designers and stunning patterns for all levels of knitters and crocheters alike. Discover the industry's latest products in the tap-and-flip galleries or learn a new technique with handy video tutorials.
Experience these things and more in each issue of Knitsy.

Knitsy is produced by Ashdown, Inc. and they have more than 30 years of experience in producing craft and hobby magazines on both sizes of the Atlantic. The Knitsy team is filled with passionate knitters, crocheters, yarn-enthusiasts, and fiber arts admirers.

Knitsy is currently available for the tablet, smartphone, and desktop computer. You can find it in the App Store and Google Play Store

Knitsy social media:

Last, but by no means the least, I'd like to thank the wonderful Knitsy editor Lauren Nielsen for featuring my project!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

8 Fabulous Ideas for Christmas Dioramas


This year, one of the projects I plan to work on is making a Christmas diorama. I have always been fascinated and crazy in love with miniatures and dioramas, but never made a single one. 

I am still working on some designs and before I show it you - here are some I find adorable.





Monday, November 23, 2015

Instagram Inspiration


The people I follow on instagram are amazing! Immensely talented, creative and imaginative. My daily cup of inspiration. I thought I might share this board I made to kick start the week ahead.
Check  them all out here

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bohemian Flowers Necklace Pattern


Before I wish you a fabulous weekend ahead, let me show you my newest pattern.

I cannot let go of the Bohemians, so here's another, heavenly easy pattern for gradient necklaces.

Pattern here and here.
More of my bohemians here, here and here

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meet Crochet Designer Elena Stavreska




Hi my dear readers!
Today I want to introduce a phenomenal crochet designer who I am sure will capture your hearts with her amazing and unique creations.

1. Can you introduce yourself to my readers? Who is Elena Stavreska?

When it comes to self-introduction, what comes to mind first is - an artist, a creator - someone that is able to create something with his/her hands that has an aesthetic value. By profession, I am a graduated painter. Pure art and high aesthetics are my foundations, the basis onto I build my creations. However, what I have been passionately doing for the past two years is design and creation of unique jewelry and fashion accessories. Crochet is the technique I use to spring my creations to life.

2. How did your relationship with crochet begin? Whom did you learn it from and what was your first creation?

Art is the reason I learnt to crochet. Namely, I was preparing an independent exhibition - a huge project with art objects of great format. One of the pieces had to look like a giant spider web. I thought long and hard how to make this so that I could capture more authentically the spider web. I decided it was best to crochet it instead drawing it on canvas. I consulted close friends and relatives regarding the basics of crochet and I also made my own researches and "experiments". So now I feel the hook as a kind of anatomical extension of my hand.

My first creation was a necklace made with purple thread and crocheted semi-precious stone - a pink quartz. It was a birthday gift for a friend. I was immensely happy I could materialize my idea. So I was inspired to make some pieces for myself. And that was the beginning. I haven't stopped creating since then. I simply got addicted to the process.

3. What is the design process like? Do you plan in advance your pieces or everything comes spontaneously?

I am a visual type - I fill my soul with what I perceive with my eyes. Ideas for potential creations spring through visualization. Since the stones are main characteristic of my designs, this process of creative visualization is provoked and nurtured by them - the stones. The color, shape, texture of the stone... all its characteristics inspire me and determine in a way the final look of the piece of jewelry (the color of the thread, the shape of the crocheted parts, etc.).

4. What do you like to make the most - with what materials and why?

My creations include various types of fashion accessories: from necklaces, bracelets and rings, to belts, amulet pouches, hair accessories even cell phone cases. I use crochet thread for my creations, in different colors and sizes. Some designs consist of purely crochet elements, others have various beads (glass or plastic), pieces of sea glass, slag, etc. Still, as I have already said, designs with crocheted stones are at the top of my list. I take pleasure in working with semi-precious stones and minerals, but sea, lake and river stones are also an never-ending source of inspiration - I use them in their natural state - I don't make any additional changes and I don't polish them. The stone as a natural material is my fascination, a unique and unrepeatable energy that I try to respect to the maximum when designing a piece.

5. Where does inspiration come from?

I have noticed that everything that comes through the sense of sight might be a potential inspiration. I recognize art elements and principles around me, which implies that it is completely unforeseeable where and what the trigger for the next design would be. I am also positively inspired by other people's creativity and ability. I enjoy looking at pieces that result from someone's unconditional dedication and focus of energy, regardless of whether it is art, a photo, piece of jewelry, clothes or a unique designer's solution from whatever area.


6. What motifs appear in your designs?

When it comes to motifs, I think that my designs do not possess exact, typically set motifs. I could set apart a common characteristics, a trait that makes them recognizable. I'd say they have a "double aura", because on one hand they leave the impression of something old, folk, maybe medieval, while on the other hand they are modern designs where there is an established order between fine elements and principles. It is interesting that many people have given me the same feedback - that my designs make them think of fairies. Most probably that association is triggered by natural materials I use. Maybe that juxtaposition of the softness and vulnerability of the cotton on one side and the constancy of the stone on the other gives that ambivalent, untamable nature that reflects the fairies as mythological creatures.

7. What part of the process is the dearest to you when you work?  

The process of creating my pieces is quite long - it takes me several days for a piece. It requires perseverance and patience. Each stage of the process is enjoyed differently. Maybe the most intensive charge I experience is when I search adequate materials to make a new, specific piece I had visualized. The materialization of the idea is experienced as a kind of mediation - the dimension time becomes completely irrelevant. I take joy and immense pleasure when I put my new piece on me.

8. Is there a favourite place for you to work at?

To be honest, that is not really important, at least not at the moment, because the sole process creates a specific atmosphere around me, makes me feel as if I am in my own  parallel universe, so I can work anywhere. I mostly work at home, however I sometimes take my hook and thread when I visit friends, or while I am on the bus. Of course, it would be fantastic if I had my own workshop, a designer oasis where I would make a perfectly ordered creative chaos that would not bother anyone and would infinitely be useful to me. I hope I would make that true in the future.

9. Do you have a favourite design and what inspired you to make it?

I cannot say there is a design or a piece of jewelry that is my favourite. I invest the same energy in a piece so all are equally dear. However, I can pick out a certain type of jewelry that I personally like because it fits my dressing style. Those are the so called slave bracelets.

10. Is there a technique or a style that you would like to try in the future?

Of course there are other techniques to make jewelry that fascinate me and I would love to learn. Filigree is one of them. Besides looking magnificently, I like that this technique elicits the same meditative condition of "sinking" into work I mentioned earlier.

11. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

It is a characteristics of mine that I don't divide time to free and not free. Simply, I spent all my time doing things that make me happy. I consider them a constituent part of my identity. Besides designing jewelry I practice Tai Chi Chuan. I am an assistant instructor at the Wushu Club Fei Long, I am also a certified instructor for Chi Gong and recently I have become the general secretary of the newly established and only Macedonian Wushy Federation. But I have another energetic filter I couldn't live without. That's singing. Currently I sing in two heavy metal bands and that fulfills me greatly. Seemingly these three fields have nothing in common, however for me they represent a whole: pictorial art - martial arts - musical art... it becomes clear what their common axis is, doesn't it?

12. Future plans?

I am not a big fan of planning the future in details, but I have some wishes I gradually work to realize. One of them is making handmade popular, especially this kind of jewelry I make. I would love very much to have my own work and exhibition space - that would give my life and creations a new dimension. I hope I can make them true.


I hope you enjoyed the interview and Elena's amazing creations. If you want to see more of her work, follow her on Facebook and Pinterest. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Into the Woods

Living in a capital situated in a valley has its drawbacks. The pollution for one. The pollution readings were high this week, so we escaped the city on the weekend and went nature exploring and it was immensely refreshing.
On our way to the woods, we passed through a village fallen into oblivion. I am always drawn to old, abandoned houses, imagining the stories they hold, the life that was led inside and around... 


The pine woods smelt wonderfully, hiding lot of amazing small clearings where we could retreat and have our own little picnic, enjoying the sunny and surprisingly very warm weather.
We went acorn and pinecone picking which we already used to decorate the house. I also cannot wait to try some stove simmers with those pinecones I've been seeing around the Internet.
I hope your weekend was just as good as ours.