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I am excited to bring on this year, not that I want to rush into it, no, I just am glad it’s here.

This coming year for me is going to bring a few new challenges, projects and preparation — more on those aspects later in the year, but for now I want to tell you about a few things that I have been into lately, things that reenergise me and that inspire me and that you too can participate in. 

I am now on Instagram @whipup - huh! how did that happen – I know … another thing to get addicted to. But there you have it … it’s fun — what can I say!

[you can view my images in a few ways: followgram or webstagram or at instagram] [ps. That crochet there is the beginnings of a Scrappy steps afghan (it's Chawnes fault), you can grab the pattern here and watch the how-to videos here.]

Do you twitter? I do and you can follow me here: Twitter @whipup : but I what I want to talk about are the chat groups on twitter – the crafty chat groups on all sorts of topics, they are helpful, fun and energising. There is one in particular that is at a convenient time for me and on a topic that I am immersed in at the moment #talknt is all about quilt talk, it is hosted by @caraquilts and is on somewhere between tuesday night (US time) and wednesday midday (Au time) depending upon your time zone. There is a sponsor each week which is always fun, but more importantly about 50 other quilting enthusiasts join in.

There are many crafty twitter chats and parties … which ones do you host or participate in – I would love to know! Do you know of any yarn/knitting/crochet twitter chats? Here are the few that I know about:

  • #talknt is a weekly quilting chat hosted by @caraquilts
  • #CraftSocial is a monthly chat with a changing topic each time, it is co-hosted by @penguintrax and @sisterdiane. The next one is February 14th from 2-3pm EST and the topic is polymer clay.
  • #crafterminds is a twice weekly craft/business chat (Monday at 4pm EST and 8pm EST) hosted by one Crafterminds.
  • #CraftChat is hosted by Craft Critique and is held every Wednesday at 1pm CST. A list of topics for the month is posted on the blog.
  • #omhg is hosted by @ohmyhandmade. They meet every Thursday from 1-2EST to chat about a monthly theme usually to do with building your business or improving your skills.

What is a twitter chat? A tweet chat or party is an organized group conversation which discusses a specific topic, it makes use of a hashtag (#) so everyone can participate. The chats are hosted by people with an interest in a topic and often pose questions to the group to build up a dialogue.

How to join in on a twitter chat: I use either my iphone or TweetDeck or TweetChat and then just search for the hashtag that the chat is using to keep track of and join in to the conversation – it is pretty easy but does take a bit to get used to the speed that conversation goes at sometimes.

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This Week I introduced a new series coming up over the next month here on whipup — and it is about my book  Little Bits Quilting Bee and pre-cut fabric: I’ll be discussing which fabrics you can use to make the quilts in my book and will be showcasing a few of the quilts. I was inspired by Weeks Ringle who has been showing the quilts from her latest book on her blog and discussing the design decisions behind each one.

In last weeks newsletter I introduced you to some dinner ideas – this week I am going introduce you to chocolate sheet cake: — inspired by this but using this recipe – chewy and fudgy at the same time – an instant winner!

And this week at whipup we had some guest posts: Baroque punk embroidery :: Valentines bracelets :: Mushroom love brooch.

I am reading… 

  • The big book of small business is written by a fellow Australian Andrew Griffiths (published by Allen and Unwin) — it claims to be the ‘Silver bullet to give you a competitive edge’, I am not sure there is such a thing — hard work, dedication, building relationships, creativity — those are the silver bullets. However it does have thoughtful, practical and useful guidance  – a checklist for success, and it does help you to ask yourself some hard questions. I am gladdened to read that I am on the right path … it is good to know when to stand firm and when to make changes … some valuable advice.
  • Graham Leslie McCallum has a useful series of books featuring various motifs: Flower & Plant Motifs,  Pattern Motifs, Art Deco Motifs and Japanese Motifs. These books include a CD of motifs and which can be manipulated and adapted for your own projects.
  • Sweat Shop Paris: Lessons in Couture from the Sewing Cafe by Martena Duss and Sissi Holleis (published by Andrews McMeel Publishing 2011). This indie style sewing book is written by the gang from the Paris based social sewing shop: ‘Sweat Shop’, it’s a cafe — a social sewing drop-in centre. The designs featured in the book are unusual and unique, hippy and punk and rock n roll diy — utilising refashioning and deconstruction, knitting and crossstitch, beading, glueing and stitching techniques to make a variety of hip and fashionable clothing and accessories as well as a bunch of playful things too.

[Thanks to publishers and distributors for sending me books to review, I don't get paid to post reviews but I am an amazon affiliate] (Australian’s can purchase craft books online through can do books or booktopia or else browse booko for the best prices.)

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November is book month at Whipup.net

The Best of Knitscene: A Collection of Simple, Stylish, and Spirited Byy Lisa Shroyer. Published by Interweave Press (November 8, 2011).

20 most popular knitting patterns and expert advice from the first five years of Knitscene magazine. Knitscene is an Interweave publication and started out in 2005 with a mission to showcase new designers and unusual yarns. The designs are simple and stylish with this compilation of patterns showcasing designs that have been popular with real knitters – these include some of my favourites: Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky, Equinox Raglan by Debbie O’Neill, the Geodesic Cardigan and the Riding to Avalon sweater by Connie Chang Chinchio, the Berkshire Dolman Sweater by Melissa Wehrle and the Opulent Raglan by Wendy Bernard. The patterns have been restyled and reknit and re-photographed and tweaked a little to incorporate current yarns and colours.

The Best of Interweave Crochet: A Collection of Our Favorite Designs By Marcy Smith. Interweave Press (September 13, 2011).

A collection of favourites from Interweave crochet including the extremely popular Babette Blanket by Kathy Merrick and my two favourite crochet sweater designs: Northern Dreams pullover and the Big Bow Cardigan both by Julia Vaconsin. As well as patterns you will also find a series of “Beyond the basics” articles including Tunisian Crochet Primer by Kathleen Power Johnson.

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September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

Today I want to introduce Anna, pop into her crafty blog Noodlehead for a feast of tutorials and projects – this woman is on fire. Her blog and crafting endeavours are inspired by her two crazy little girls {her noodleheads}

I’m Anna from Noodlehead, happy that I re-discovered sewing last year and have been having fun getting lost in the sewing/blogging world ever since! Please visit my blog if you feel like killing time!

Hi whipup readers! I’m so honored that Kathreen asked me to share with you a little something today. I figured a little rundown of my favorite sewing books would be fun. I’ll start with the book that started it all. About a year and a half ago I was on a special trip out of the house as a break from my motherly duties, so I stumbled into Barnes and Noble and started paging through books in the craft section. What I didn’t expect to find were so many cute sewing books.

Especially this one: Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan

It has such a fun mixture of different projects that there is something in there for everyone and for every gift giving occasion. I’ve already tried out square bear (now complete with eye ripped off), the spumoni quilt, the appliqued tote…

The second book I’d like to mention is this beauty: Patchwork Style by Suzuko Koseki

I can’t even count how many times I checked this one out from my local library before I finally decided I just needed to own it. I love patchwork and the styling in this book is just beautiful. The projects are just amazing, from things to make for the kitchen to tons of cute handbags and quilts. The best part is that this version is in english, even better.

I couldn’t have a list of sewing books without mentioning one of my all time favorites, Amy Butler: Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones

You really can’t page through many sewing books or magazines without seeing Amy Butler’s fabrics and patterns. There’s also tons of inspiration in the Little Stitches flickr group, so many to choose from. I loved making the crib bedding set and the kimono pajama pants already. You can’t really go wrong making tons of cute baby projects!

And on my desk right now is this little lovely: Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love by Hillary Lang

I can’t wait to dive in to the Mermaiden project or whip out a cute betsy pillow with interchangable clothes.

That about wraps it up for me (ha, for now anyway). Hope you get a chance to check out these fun books if you haven’t already! Thanks again Kathreen!

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