Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly?

Welcome to the crochet edition of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

First, the GOOD! Many of you found motivation in my post from Monday. If you missed it, check it out here: Give Yourself 15 Minutes. One of my favorite things about fitness is being able to say 'I Did It'. A little bragging, when it's true, is very empowering. If you want to brag about how YOU spent 15 minutes on your well-being... comment and brag to me about it!

Here's my brag:
I did a trail race in January and it was 5 degrees. FIVE. Crazy. To a runner, "crazy" is a compliment. (PS, I do NOT have a thigh gap, I was focused on the snow and my new trail shoes and stood funny because I didn't want to mess up the snow for my photo. A thigh gap is not something I encourage.) (Have you done anything crazy lately?)

The BAD... Ok, so my 40 designs in 40 days challenge is not going so well. (Read about it here if you missed it).  I was off to a great start the first two weeks. Then I sold a couple of the early designs and got busy stitching... which meant that I put my 40 days binder to the side and ignored it for ... two weeks.... (eek).  I pulled it out today and sketched out 3 ideas. So, I'm trying to have renewed effort on my goal.  It happens. We fall off our goals all the time. The key to success is renewing our efforts. (What effort would you like to renew?)

The UGLY... Ugly is such a subjective thing, don't you think?

Sometimes, when I'm tired, I think HILLS are ugly. But then I remember that they are just 'mounds of opportunity.'  (Insert eye roll here...) Corny, but true.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Give Yourself Fifteen Minutes

Let's talk a little bit about motivation and discipline, shall we? 
In the crochet business, it seems like 95% of jobs are freelance work-from-home type jobs. It takes a great deal of initiative and follow-thru to accomplish tasks when you are the boss, the designer, the shipper, the marketer, the manager, the supply manager, the communications manager, the accountant, the buyer, all in one. These tasks don't get done unless YOU do them.

Running and fitness and well-being also take discipline and motivation to accomplish. In running there is a common phrase, 'Never judge a run by the first mile'. And it's so true. If you never push through the first mile, you'll never know which mile is your favorite... (hint, it's ok if the mile takes more than 15 minutes).

If you can just give yourself 15 minutes to a task, motivation is usually 15 minutes down the road. I can tell you right now, motivation does not usually reside on the coach. It lives somewhere 15 minutes into a project.  You have to have faith that if you start, motivation will join you. 

So, even if it is a crochet task or chores around the house...don't expect that motivation will come grab you off the couch and say, 'hey let's play'. Commit to 15 minutes. If after 15 minutes you want to quit whatever you are doing, then quit. Most of the time though, I find, when I get 15 minutes into cleaning my office or doing chores or a long run, that I'm in a 'groove' and I'm motivated to finish the task or keep going a little longer. 

Worst case, you have made 15 minutes of progress, which is more than when you started. 

 Also, people are motivating! That's why podcasts are so awesome when you work from home or run alone most of the time. It's awesome to know that there are people out there doing the same thing you are doing at the exact same time! Even if they are miles apart. These are folks from my running tribe. They are every shape and fitness level. Every age from all over the US and several countries. Everyone has their own issues for why they do or don't move. It's a ton easier if you know they are just real people putting in 15 minutes at a time.

What will you do for 15 minutes today to get closer to your goal?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Gotcha Day

Today would have been my mom's 70th birthday. We are nearing the amount of time where I have had to live without her as long as I got with her. My mom died when I was 24 and she was 50. The fact that Tom just turned 50 is a surreal feeling and brings home just how short of time we had with her.

I have only a few photos on the computer of her because I didn't really go full on digital until a few years later. Here is me and mom at my college graduation.

Mom had craft ADHD. She would get super excited about all sorts of craft projects then rarely finish them.  She liked every type of needlework including candlewicking and needlepoint, knit and crochet. She also loved animals and was a little 'over the top' about giraffes.

Last year, when it came time to find a new pet, I knew Mom's birthday would bring us extra luck. It did and we adopted Theo exactly one year ago today.

Here's an old post from 2009 when I showed an unfinished blanket of my mom's.
Here's a photo of the blanket Mom and I made together for my Nanny's birthday when I was a teenager. It's in a blog post way back.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pretty Woman Moment

So, I guess since I had fun playing with the projects from the summer issue of Crochet! that maybe you'd still like to see them? They shouldn't go to waste, right? Playing with the projects from amazing designers was really one of the ultimate best parts of the job.

Please support the amazing designers!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pop Up Poppies Revealed!

I had so much fun with this join-as-you-go blanket! It reminded me of sea glass along the ocean.

The Pop Up Poppies blanket is made of Berroco Comfort DK.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Natsu Summer Scarf REVEALED!

Well, I guess today is a bittersweet day. Disappointment with a tinge of pride.

The Natsu Summer Scarf is revealed! In the summer issue of Crochet! magazine.  Get your copy printed or digital HERE. 'Natsu' is Japanese for 'summer'. Chickee and I spent a great deal of time this past summer watching a beautiful anime show called, "Your Lie in April". Really, really beautifully drawn, the music is amazing and the storyline is compelling and moving. Here's a screenshot from the show that gives a glimpse of how I was inspired:

Natsu summer scarf is an asymmetrical triangular one-ball scarf made in Cascade Sunseeker. It has a thread of metallic but it's still very soft!

I designed the scarf on the way to Ireland, beginning at the point, integrating the edging as the rows were worked. 

Here's the first attempt at the scarf as I worked out the edging.

Here I am working on the draft while on the tour bus from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher. 

I'm so happy to be able to share with you such a clear story of inspiration to final project. 

The summer issue is my last issue as editor of Crochet! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

RIP Tip!

It happens to the best of us... you need to rip out stitches back to fix a mistake. Here's a quick rip tip...

Remove your hook from the work and insert it in the stitch that is wrong or next to the omitted stitch if you missed one. Let your hook dangle there. Rip the work with wild abandon until you get to the hook. Then stop. Now you know you have ripped back to the exact correct spot.

This is a row pattern and I missed a ch-1 space. I inserted the hook in the row below, exactly where the ch-1 should have been. Then I unraveled the current row until I got to the hook. At least with crochet I usually find the error on the next row, so usually I don't have to rip back more than two rows total.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Edging Tip

I've been thinking a great deal about crochet edgings lately.  Can you see what's happening here? I have my first foundation row of a project complete (on the left in dc). Before beginning row 2, I have grabbed a second skein of yarn. On the opposite side of the foundation I have worked Round 1 of the edging I am considering (on the right). I can't turn the corner yet but at least I know that the width of the project is exactly right. When it comes time to determine the side edging... It will be much easier to add or subtract rows in the body of the project to make sure I have the exact number for the proposed edging that I already know works for the first side.

What are your likes and dislikes as it pertains to edgings? Do you like to turn them? Do you like complicated edgings or do you just put a round of reverse single crochet and be done? What's your favorite edging?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Skill builder Help

Hi! If any of you have my Go Crochet Skill builder book and have anything nice to say about it, please consider leaving a review on the Interweave site!  Thank you,

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Useful Baby!

What do you think are the most useful crocheted baby items?

People want booties... in your experience do people use them? I can pass up a great versatile 36" x 36" blanket. You can use it as a blanket, a nursing cover, warmth for a car seat, a play mat on a floor... good stuff.

What about bibs and burp cloths? I think those are awesomely useful and quick and easy to make. And of course... HATS.

Toys? Sweaters only fit so long, one season at best...

What is your go-to baby item that you think gets the most USE?

Since we are talking about babies, here is my nephew, Blake and cousins Molly and Abigail.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Give me the Down Low...

So what do you all think of these color changing yarns?

Lion Brand Mandala, Image result for Lion Brand Mandala yarn images

Premier Sweet Roll  

Caron Cakes  Image result for Caron Cake yarn image

Premier Sweet Roll seems to have more subtle color changes, but I haven't worked with any of them yet... so where do I start?

Which one do you like the best?

Does Red Heart have one too?

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Mile a Minute

The Design Binge is going well! Theo won't let me turn the page on my color card book.

When you think of Mile a Minute afghans... what do you think? Do you like them? Do you like joining the strips or would you rather crochet them as you go? Are the awesome long portable motifs to you?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Design Binge!

Let the Lenten Design Binge Begin! This year I'm going for goals: Body, Mind, & Spirit. My Body goal will be related to running. My Spirit Goal will be, well, spiritual. My MIND goal is to design 40 ideas in 40 days... starting TODAY. It will be amazing to see what happens when I release myself from the final outcome but instead brainstorm.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Prep and Talk!

I'm preparing to get back in the studio this spring. Swatches are happening, math is happening, binders are filling up. Here's a photo from Season 7 behind the scenes at Knit and Crochet Now. (Before the glam...)

I'd really LOVE to hear more about YOU though... what do you like to make? How often do you crochet? How long have you been crocheting? Are you a designer or a happy maker? What questions do you have? What can I do here on the blog to provide you with inspiration?  :) Write me a letter, drop me a note. Comment below if you like!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Weekend Crochet Challenge!

Tell me to get working.
I had a productive morning but then I took a "break".
There is still time to crochet something.

If I promise to work on 2 design ideas between now and Monday...
what will you challenge yourself to do?


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yarn Love Challenge

Have you been following the YarnLoveChallenge on Instagram? If not, here are a few of my highlights:

My handmade home... We have about 11 crocheted afghans at last count, that are in active use in our home. This blanket above is from BEFORE I started designing. It's still holding up!

#Gratitude My first book, translated into Chinese. Chickee's boyfriend speaks 4 languages and was able to read the dedication back to me the other day. When I wrote this book, I had no idea all the wonderful blessings that I would have in this day.

Random photo of Theo because he's so darn cute. He is in the hanging chair that is in Chief's room. 

Here is about half of my yarn book library. I have an additional two shelves on the other side of the room and random books scattered around the house with projects and a stitch dictionary in the car... ya know, in a design emergency.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Old School

I was having trouble visualizing a shape I wanted to design. I went old school. I got out the big 1" grid paper and drew out the actual size and shape I wanted to recreate in crocheted fabric.

As I work, I can put the crocheted piece on the paper and make sure I'm getting it right. I made a paper pattern, basically.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dune Throw, A Second Chance!

If you didn't get my Dune Throw pattern in my book, Learn Bruges Lace, you have another chance! The pattern is now in the Easy, Breezy Crochet Lace special issue.  You can buy the hardcopy or you can get the digital download. Or, you can message me and I'll sell you Learn Bruges Lace (in USA only). Here's the link to the pattern details on Ravelry.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Name That Crochet Clip!

Here's a hint... I'm really late to the party on this one.

I actually have several clips from this show. The art director must have been a crochet enthusiast!

Name that show! If you can't get it, I'll post another clip from the same show as an additional clue.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Wrong Side

There's a wrong side of the bed. The wrong side of the tracks. When you drop a piece of buttered bread, it always lands with the wrong side down.

Some crochet projects have a wrong side. Sweaters of course have a wrong side against your skin so the right side can be seen by the world. But what about blankets?

90% or more of my crochet motif projects, I design with all the "right sides" facing. That is, I don't turn when I join rounds. In some ways I would rather that one side be 100% right and the other side be 100% wrong than to turn rounds and have both sides be 50-50.

Of course blankets, worked in rows, not worked in the round, are always 50-50. Of course if you put an edging on it, you often have to choose which side is going to be the right side. And you can't put the edging on the wrong side because as soon as you put it on you are declaring it the right side.

But, if you put the edging on the side where you have woven in ends, then you have put it on the wrong side. That would really be awkward.

Above, Theo is sitting on the wrong side of the blanket.

So, my question is, when it comes to blankets, does it bother you when one side is the right side and the other side is wrong? Would you prefer to have 50-50 blankets where they are both equally right and equally wrong?  Do you prefer your motifs be turned or all worked on the right side? (I won't judge!)

Sometimes it's hard to tell right from wrong, and not just in blankets!