Tag Archives: crochet

Poppin’ Poppin’


Way back in January, my good friend and fellow South Side Community Council member Jenn Holliman said, “Hey Suz, want to do a thing?” And, since I’m impulsive and don’t think things through, I was like, “YES! Let’s do a thing!”

She didn’t tell me that we had a month to make 1,000 flowers.

That thing was Pop des Fleurs. You may have noticed back in March that CLP – South Side was covered in bright flowers of every material: plastic, yarn, coated paper, and anything else we thought could withstand a Pittsburgh winter. We were a test installation to see what materials would survive. There was another gorgeous installation at Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville as well.

Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville

Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville

Pop des Fleurs was originally conceived by Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh member, Annette Sandberg. The idea was born during the cold and dreary Pittsburgh winter. Annette was trying to remember how her friends and family had remained up-beat and connected during long, cold winters in her birthplace, Norway. The image that came to mind, was her family home filled with flowers and candles, and warm conversations in front of the fireplace.

Its creation will create color and bring delight during the dark season of February and March through handmade, pop-up flower bouquets and gardens. It will also raise awareness for the internationally renowned exhibit of contemporary fiber art happening here in Pittsburgh in May 2016.

Remember Knit the Bridge in 2013? It’s the same amazing group of people!


Knit the Bridge, 2013


Knit the Bridge, 2013

Our flowers were installed on my birthday! The community came out in full force and embraced the project from beginning to end. The Market House Senior Center ended up doing their own project for their 100th Anniversary. The Chamber of Commerce had an installation. People loved it. It brightened up the gray March.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The great news is that Pop des Fleurs is partnering with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Every branch will host workshops, serve as a space for individuals and groups to make flowers and also will be installation sites for the gardens. This project aims to connect communities and neighbors while learning about different fiber arts.

In other words, it’s a big deal! I am beyond excited to be working on this project and I am so proud that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was picked as the community partner. Every library in Pittsburgh will be covered in flowers for the month of February! If you are interested in becoming involved—by making flowers, donating materials or planning the installation—contact your local library branch or check out the Pop des Fleurs website for more information. And follow them on Facebook for updates about the project.


If you feel the need for even more entertainment, come to CLP- South Side’s Crochet and Knitting Club and watch me learn to crochet left-handed! So far it has consisted of me swearing a lot and launching yarn across a room.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Branches are people too.


Come visit us!

With all of the amazing activities taking place at the Mothership Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Main (language lessons, poetry, author visits, crafting) it is easy to forget that CLP has 17 neighborhood branches and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. And we’re all busy little bees, planning awesome programs for all ages, all year round. But since I’m the manager of CLP-South Side, let’s talk about me!

Every Week

TeenLoungeTeen Lounge
Mondays 4-6 pm
The South Side Library is the place to be every Monday afternoon. There’s tons of fun happening at Teen Lounge from gaming, snacking and crafting, to working on projects around the Library and around the South Side. Come and kick it at Teen Lounge.

Crochet & Knitting Club,
Wednesdays 5:30-7:30 pm
Join us for our Crochet and Knitting Group. We are a group of friendly crochet and knitting fans, looking to teach and learn from other friendly crafters. Bring your current projects or start something new!

Thursdays 11 am – 12 pm
All kids are welcome at these storytimes designed for children 18 months to age 5. Get up and get moving with stories, songs, rhymes and silly fun! In these 30-40 minute storytimes, children and adults will actively explore books that expand the imagination and inspire self-discovery.

Saturdays 12-3 pm
Feel like getting your game on? Head down to the library for an assortment of video and tabletop games for all ages! Meet new people to challenge, or bring a friend along for gaming fun.

Special Events

All Day Movies
Thursday, 11/28- Family Blockbusters
Saturday, 12/13- Holiday Favorites
Friday, 12/26- Holiday Favorites
Join us at the library for an all day movie marathon! Each month we’ll feature a day long celebration of films on a fun theme.


The Labs
Monday, 12/8
3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
The Labs is the place to make and learn with art and technology. During this workshop, teens can explore a variety of processes with the help of mentors. Mentors will provide equipment and expertise related to music/audio production, design, circuitry/robotics and photo/video. Stop by and make something cool with us!

IMG_20141111_142113 (1)Work. Nights.
Thursday, 12/4
6 pm-midnight
Scott talked about Work. Nights. in a previous post, but I wanted to remind everyone that it is taking place at CLP- South Side!
Accelerate. Collarborate. Innovate.
Stay up late at the Library. Network. Get stuff done. Connect with other innovators. Research your ideas and jumpstart your ingenuity! Come to the library for:

  • a creative co-working environment
  • guidance from library professionals well-versed in technology, entrepreneurism and more
  • late night snacks and coffee

GingerbreadGingerbread Houses
Saturday, 12/6
11 am – 1 pm

Add a sweet touch to your holiday with edible arts and crafts! We’ll supply the gingerbread, icing and decorations—everything you need to make a delicious gingerbread house. Due to limited space, registration is required. 412-431-0505 or southside@carnegielibrary.org

Book Sale
Saturday, 12/13
10 am – 5 pm
Browse our new and gently used books. Homemade baked goods will be available for purchase, as well as gifts made by our Crochet and Knitting group. All proceeds benefit the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- South Side Friends group.

Saturday, 12/13
2:30 – 3:30 pm
Be social, Be spontaneous and Be artistic! Check out this program dedicated to cooking, crafting and technology based making for teens.

Whew! This is only one month of one branch’s activities! You could probably find something to attend every day of the month if you tried. Hope to see you here!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Confessions of a Yarn Addict

I recently started crocheting again after a 15 year hiatus.

Okay, I’ll be honest.  I had a brief fling with crocheting in high school, during which I made exactly one thing: a “dusty rose” pink afghan the size and texture of a trawling net.  I’m not sure why I stubbornly completed the specified number of rows, instead of calling it a day when it got ridiculous.  But I learned a valuable lesson about substituting hook sizes that I will never, ever forget.  (Yes, the afghan still exists, but has not seen the light of day since I wearily attached the last tassel.)

At any rate, I already knew my way around a skein of yarn and felt pretty confident about the basic stitches.  But I was still a little dubious from my afghan experience, and couldn’t really read a pattern, so the thought of making anything besides a rectangle (on any scale) was overwhelming.  So I did what I always do in such situations – I ransacked the nonfiction collection for advice.

Six months later, I can’t claim to be an expert in either crocheting itself, or the library’s crocheting collection, but at least I’m well past the pot-holder stage.  Here’s what I’ve read so far that’s helped me get started –

The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs: 500 Classic & Original Patterns by Linda P. Schapper

This book is based on a fascinating concept – can the author collect or invent 500 unique stitch patterns with the same boring white yarn?  The photos and illustrations are helpful and understandable, making it a great stitch dictionary.  Unfortunately, you don’t get a lot of advice on what projects are best suited to your new skills.

Crochet From the Heart: Quick Projects for Generous Giving and Blankets, Hats, and Booties to Knit and Crochet by Kristin Spurkland.

The patterns in these books are nice enough to give away, but easy enough for a beginner to follow.  I learned how to make my first baby clothes from Spurkland, and I’m also planning a set of custom finger puppets based on her design.  Crochet From The Heart also includes a list of charities that accept handmade donations.

Lily Chin’s Crochet Tips & Tricks: Shortcuts and Techniques Every Crocheter Should Know

Some things should be obvious, and they’re just not – for example, joining two pieces together by the edges with a neat, flat seam.  Lily Chin solves this mystery, and other problems you didn’t even realize you had.  (She also has a knitting book, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Amigurumi Two!  Crocheted Toys For Me and You and Baby Too
by Ana Paula Rímoli

There’s a toy airplane in this book that I can’t wait to make.  And if these patterns appeal to you, the author has several other good books on amigurumi (the Japanese word for small, cute stuffed toys).

Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More!
by Christen Haden

Amigurumi isn’t just for kids!  If you’re the kind of person that still collects action figures, loves awful movies, or spends a lot of time on the internet, there is guaranteed to be a project in here for you.

Of course, this is just a small fraction of what was on the library’s shelf, and there are a heap of other beautiful books I plan to read.  Also, since the newest and most exciting books are usually checked out at any given moment, there is another heap I haven’t even seen yet.  And as always, readers, I welcome your suggestions!


(PS – If you find yourself so excited about your new hobby that you just have to share it with someone, the library can help with that, too!  Crocheters are welcome at the Main library’s Carnegie Knits and Reads, and many branches host their own crafty groups.  And if you really can’t get to an existing group, you might be able to start your own.  Search the Events Calendar for “crafts,” or ask a librarian for more information.)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Vibrant Hues at CLP

Everyone has a passion for something outside of his or her job,  and it’s often something completely unrelated.  For many, especially among the staff here at the Carnegie Library, their passion lies somewhere on the creative spectrum.  The Annual CLP Staff Art Show here at Main is a living testament to this. The hallway across from the Large Print Room currently features magnificent pieces of artwork, all made by the staff in the Carnegie Library system.  The display will run throughout the month of April, partially in honor of National Library Week.

Do you have a creative outlet, or some other passion that you love to indulge in outside of your normal routine?   Is there any craft or medium that you’ve wanted to dabble in but never dared to try?  Allow me to recommend a few useful resources to get you on your way:

Stitch n’ Bitch:  The Knitter’s Handbook is by far my favorite book when it comes to learning how to knit.  It has some of the best illustrations and descriptions, which really come in handy.  It is also filled with a variety of patterns to try after you get the basics down.

The Happy Hooker:  Stitch n’ Bitch Crochet is in the same series as the one listed above, and is likewise just as useful for the crochet newbie. 

If you have tried books to learn how to knit and/or  crochet, but still find yourself at a loss, you can always come to Carnegie Knits and Reads at Main.  It’s on the first and third Wednesday of every month and is chock-full of yarn masters who can aid you in your crafty quest.

A Short Course in Photography is a great book for people who want to take their photography to the next level.  This book will give you plenty to think about when it comes to perspective and personal style.  Definitely a must for anyone who wants to progress beyond taking merely a “nice photo.”

Glass Blowing: A Technical Manual is an excellent source for explaining the overall process of glass blowing by using an array of completed pieces as examples.   It provides a stellar overview of the basic techniques as well as gives the reader plenty to ponder when it comes to color and personal style.

Art Class: A Complete Guide to Painting is a marvelous book for anyone who wants to learn how to paint.  The author, with the help and advice of several artists, provides the reader with insight on everything from choosing a medium to deciding on a subject.  An absolute must for those who yearn to add some extra brush strokes to their days.

The New Artist’s Manual is essentially four years of art school without the hassle of expensive loans and college applications.  A hands-on art text, it is a great resource for beginners and advanced artists alike.  One of my favorite books.

The Big-Ass Book of Crafts is one of the most fun books you can have on your creative shelf.   Ever wonder what to do with all that extra silverware you obtained from your dorm room days?  Or how about all those clothes pins or subscription cards that fall out of your magazines?  This book offers fun-filled, imaginative and creative solutions to such problems.  A great book for anyone who wants to dabble in the creative world, but has no preference when it comes to medium.

Happy creating!! 


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized