Hi, everyone! For this challenge, I have a special guest, someone you know very well. She comes from Italy, and she has been one of the most active members of Cookie Connection for years: Evelin Milanesi, also known as @Evelindecora.
Evelin will be showcasing a technique that she originated in 2016: her signature Piped Crochet Technique. Evelin originated this technique as her personal take on the royal icing knitting technique that was quite popular at that time. She has used it to make a wool sweater and cap but also in other creative ways, such as to cover the roofs of her cookie houses; as a texture for her heart cookies; as a decoration for her cookie macarons; and even for watermelon slices! So, as you can see, this technique is more than another knit technique that's limited to winter clothing; it is quite versatile and can be used for any season and on almost any cookie shape.
When you watch Evelin’s demo, you will learn how to use her Piped Crochet Technique to decorate (cover) a square cookie. Evelin encourages you to practice on a square cookie first because it is the easiest way to learn this technique. Once you've mastered that shape, you can then apply the technique to any cookie shape or design, 2-D and also 3-D. For your challenge entry, we would like you to think of a unique way to use this technique on a cookie project of your own design. We want you to create something new that's never been seen before and to avoid using the technique to cover square/rectangular cookies.
So let’s watch Evelin’s demo together, but first . . .
Important: Evelin's video was recorded exclusively for Cookie Connection for the sole purpose of helping Cookie Connection members develop their skills and apply those skills to this challenge and future projects of their own design. This video recording, and the content contained therein, cannot be used as material for cookie classes, for purposes of financial gain, or for any other purpose than stated above without obtaining written permission from Evelin in advance. Thank you!
How nice it was to watch Evelin demoing, and what an interesting and versatile technique! Evelin has never before appeared publicly in video on social media, nor has she shared her techniques in a widespread way in this format, so having her as a featured guest is truly a special gift. I can't thank Evelin enough. Evelin has been teaching cookie decorating classes online for the past two years, and that’s why she was a natural on video. Fun facts: Evelin and I met here on Cookie Connection, and I was also Evelin's student when I was living in Milan a few years back. She is an amazing teacher as you too have now seen in this video. [EDITOR'S NOTE: I echo Manu's thank-you. I am extremely touched and grateful that Evelin has been so generous with her time and techniques, and just for us! She did a wonderful job - what a pro on camera and in the kitchen! ~JMU]
After re-watching the demo, I realized that I could have talked with Evelin more, told you more about her, and asked her a lot of things, but I was so focused on her demo that I didn’t want to interrupt her. (I was also making sure that the recording was working!) Fortunately, Cookie Connection ’s resources come in handy. In fact, you can read more about Evelindecora in this recent Cookier Close-up by @Julia M. Usher, and, if there is something that you would like to ask Evelin regarding her technique, you can do so at any time in the comments under this post. Evelin will be available to reply for the duration of the challenge. Evelin has also provided a resource list that you will find attached at the end of this post.
The purpose of these challenges is to stretch skills, learn, and try new things, and that's why cookiers of all skill levels are encouraged to participate. This challenge is not a competition among cookiers, but a way to have fun, challenge yourself (not compare), and share your learning experience. That’s also why prize winners have always been determined through random drawings, and that’s why we encourage you to participate with multiple entries.
And speaking of the prize. . . Evelin is donating one hour of her time to one entrant whose name, again, will be drawn at random. In this hour, you can ask Evelin anything cookie-related. This session is not meant to be a class or a demo, just a friendly Zoom chat with Evelin.
The rules for participating continue to be very simple. We introduce only one little restriction in point #3:
- Watch Evelin's demo, get inspired, and challenge yourself to create a brand new cookie project of you own design featuring Evelin’s Piped Crochet Technique.
- Make anything you like, with the exception noted in point #3. Your entry could be a set of cookies or a 3-D cookie project, or even a single cookie. You can also use other decorating techniques of course, but Evelin’s Piped Crochet Technique should be the main feature. It should stand out - that is, it should be the first thing one notices when looking at your cookie entry.
- A little restriction: Avoid using square or rectangular cookies decorated either fully or partially with this technique. We are pushing you to stretch your skills and to use this technique in a creative way. Amaze us with your ideas! You can use square/rectangular cookies in your entry, but they should NOT be decorated with the Piped Crochet Technique.
- Please share in your entry comments what you learned, any difficulties you encountered and how you overcame them, and any suggestions to help and inspire your fellow cookiers. If English is not your native language and you feel more comfortable using your own language, you can. We will add translations if we can.
- Your work must be original and not a copy of Evelin's or of someone else’s work/design/art/image in accordance with Cookie Connection site rules and US copyright laws.
- Have fun!
- If you have a question for Evelin as you are developing your entry, that's great! We encourage questions and learning at every step of the process. Please enter all questions in the comments area under this post, so that everyone can benefit from the Q&A. And please tag @Evelindecora so she is sure to see your question and respond in a timely way.
- Please post an image of your cookie project to the site under the Cookie Connection Challenge clip set no later than January 7, 2023 at 5 pm central time. (Yes, we are giving you lots and lots of time to create, as we know how busy everyone gets with cookie orders, friends, and family over the fall and winter holidays.)
- Because these challenges will be ongoing, we ask that you put "Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #52" in your photo caption (subtitle field) AND in a tag, so we can tell the challenges apart from month to month. Please use the title field to uniquely name your cookies as you normally would.
- Please also assign other relevant clip sets and tags to your images, as you normally would. (Don't use just the Cookie Connection Challenge clip set and leave it at that, or your photos won't easily be found with keyword searches.)
- You can enter more than once, but please post only one clip of each distinct entry. Multiple clips of the same entry are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.
On January 14, in our weekly Saturday Spotlight, I will reveal the 10 top-trending entries (as determined automatically by our site-trending algorithms*) as well as the randomly drawn prize winner. The next challenge will be announced soon after this challenge has closed. *Note: The site algorithms use members' collective likes, comments, and reactions to each entry to determine our Spotlightees.
During this challenge, which, starts today (October 20) and lasts about 11 weeks (!), you can ask any question at any time in the comments under this post, and Evelin or I will be happy to answer. We can’t wait to see your creations!
~ Manu (and Evelin)
Manuela Pezzopane, affectionately called Manu by her friends and family, is the author of the blog feature Made by Manu, where each month she shares the method behind a magical cookie of her own making. In March 2022, Manu also assumed the role of host of our rebranded and reformatted Cookie Connection Challenges: Watch-Learn-Create Series, which debuted in a virtual video format in July 2022. A fan of everything handmade, Manu professes to have tried every possible hobby. However, it wasn’t until the end of 2014, when an American friend invited her to a Christmas cookie exchange, that she first discovered decorated cookies. In 2015, after watching Julia M. Usher's videos and signing up on Cookie Connection, Manu finally attempted her own designs. Since then, cookie decorating has become Manu’s passion, and her mesmerizing video shorts have earned her a large and loyal following throughout the global cookie community. Manu harks from Rome, Italy, where she currently resides. You can email Manu at email@example.com, follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or explore her past challenges and large library of Made by Manu tutorials here on Cookie Connection.
Photo credit: Manuela Pezzopane