Friday, November 30, 2007


At the right, you can see "another favorite" it is a FREE PATTERN on Coats & Clark's Website. Get it HERE. If this link doesn't work, go to: choose "needlework" "crochet" "free projects" "tv projects" and I think it is on page 7.

Have I ever told you the story of this afghan? I made it when we were still living at our old house, it was August, it was hot. The only place I had to lay out the whole thing to assemble it on a diagonal the way I wanted, was up in the third floor attic of our mid-Victorian home. I had one big fan on me, but the little triangles were too light, and were getting blown by the fan, so I assembled the thing with NO FAN. Whew! I can still feel how hot it was up there! You know, the kind of hot where you feel like your lips are swollen with burning by just breathing!

Here's photos of the whole thing.

This photo is some of the other color schemes that Coats and Clark thought might impress. This project was first seen on NeedleArts Studio with Shay Pendray.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sneak Peek

Do you want another sneak peek? I have no idea if and when this one will show up, but it's a "done deal" (several months ago) so hopefully it will hit the crochet world soon. I will give you a couple of clues: Clue #1: my Niece (who's 3) got one of these for her birthday, and Clue #2: It's a first for me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A friend of a friend...

A friend of mine requested this blanket for her to give her new grandchild for Christmas. It is "Rock-a-Bye Plaid" by Rose Marie Brooks and was published in Leisure Arts "a year of afghans, book 3"1998. I made one for Chickee when I was pregnant, on jury duty, during the riots, (it's a long story). Anyway, this one is now finished and ready for gifting!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Quotes to inspire

“No longer forward nor behind, I look in hope or fear; But grateful take the good I find, The best of now and here.”
John Greenleaf Whittier quotes (American Writer, 1807-1892)

I think this needs to be my new motto! Awesome, I need to memorize it!
This stack of yarn arrived today, ready to be whipped into crocheted creations for upcoming publications!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chickee's other dresses

Here's a couple other dresses that I have made for Chickee, taking store-bought shirts and adding skirts. Necessity is the mother of invention, and since she is a 99% of the time dress-wearer, at times I have had to improvise. Many of the dresses in the stores are too fancy for everyday wear. I made these last summer for her:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Baby Goat

Look at this adorable Baby goat! (it's probably not even a baby, but some tiny variety. I know nothing about goats!) I keep teasing (sorta) my DH that I want to raise goats (cashmere ones) for multiple reasons! First, they'll eat our grass so my DH doesn't have to mow it, if we raise goats can't we take a tax deduction for being 'agricultural'?, and of course, I could spin the hair into yarn! It's a win-win-win! Of course, I'd have to learn how to spin...

We saw this goat, and a variety of other animals at the petting zoo portion of our local Thanksgiving Day parade. Then the kids got photos with Santa and hot chocolate and cookies. It's a fun family tradition!

Friday, November 23, 2007

knitting, cables

It looks like my knitting projects are destined to all be UFO's for awhile! I get excited to learn a new skill, then I get busy with crochet and then I lose interest in the knitting, or worse, I make a mistake and don't know how to fix it. This is the "Learn to Cable Scarf" in Lion Brand Thick and Quick. It is a free pattern on the Lion Website.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gift for Chickee

Chickee is way more picky about clothes than I thought she would be at age 6! I bought her this long-sleeve t-shirt from Target, but, she wouldn't wear it. So I asked her, "if I add a skirt to it, will you wear it?" She assured me she would and helped me go through my stash to find the color she wanted. So here is a photo of the prep for the skirt. I poke holes with a tapestry needle, (I just eyeball it), then I put stitch markers or seaming pins through the holes to keep them open. I put a row of stitches in with Red Heart LusterSheen. Then I'm going to make the skirt in Red Heart Super Saver. I have done this with her shirts in past, and the Red Heart just gets softer every time I wash it. She loves these dresses and actually wears them. I'll post a photo when it's finished.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I cast on a new project (that's what knitters say!) it's from KnitSimple magazine, the summer 2007 issue. The designer is not listed but is a pattern from Needful Yarns. I thought this would be simple enough for me...until I started! Do you see those needles in the photo? Those are 14" needles. See how the yarn is squished on those needles, as if the project is actually much bigger than the 14" needles? The sweater is supposed to be 9". Yep, that's right, my gauge is off by 5 inches! On the upside, I really enjoy the bamboo Takumi needles. They don't click as loud as the aluminum ones, though the yarn doesn't slide very well on the Bamboo. It's a toss up which ones I like better. I haven't decided if I am going to start this baby sweater over again, or if it is doomed to the UFO pile. (That's un-finished object to all of you new-bies out there). No, it's not for us, I have a friend having a baby in March.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Growing about waiting...

It wasn't too long ago, that I would agonize, waiting for a response to my submissions. It seemed like an eternity between sending in a proposal and hearing back. There were two times (two different buyers) that I submitted items only to wait a whole year to get a response. A WHOLE YEAR!

It used to be that I would mail a submission and immediately start watching the e-mail and post box to see a response. Now, I send it and forget about it, I get on designing other things. All submissions I send through the mail I send with Delivery Confirmation, so I know it was received to their address. Every once in a while I go back to my charts, where I plot the progress of every design and I take stock of what I have submitted where, how long it has been, and what my next step will be when a response comes. (maybe I'll share that chart with you if you're interested).

I once did a post about how I didn't know if it was harder to wait for a response, or upon getting a "yes" is it harder to wait for the yarn to arrive to get started. Now, I'm at the point that when I get a "yes" I'm grateful for the 2-3 day wait to get the yarn because then I know that I have 2-3 days to clean the house, do laundry, get as many chores done as possible, organize my office, finish up the crochet projects I'm working on, because when the yarn arrives, I know I will do nothing but crochet!

So, in conclusion, waiting used to be excruciating, now, not so much :)

Do you see that silly cat sitting right in the middle of our puzzle? I guess that's the best sunny spot he could find. I tried to get a photo of him batting the pieces off the table, but he would behave as soon as I turned the camera on him.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Act Surprised

I've decided to make crocheted washcloths from Bernat Organic Cotton for Christmas gifts this year. I'm making them mostly for the kids' teachers, but if you are reading this, and you get one, act delighted, Ok? I'm going to package them with a pretty bar of soap (any suggestions?) I already have 6 made! WooHoo! (if you count the Sunday school teachers, the kids have several teachers altogether). What are you making for Christmas/Holiday giving?

Friday, November 16, 2007


WooHoo, I have just sold my 55th design! Wow. I'm so thrilled. It's really, really fun. Now, it feels real. And to celebrate, here's a sneak peek, though the colors are likely to change:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fall has come!

I thought I'd better get this fall photo posted before fall is over. I don't understand why Summer and Winter are soooo loonnnnnggg, and Spring and Fall are each so short. Maybe it was all those pictures in grade school where they split the seasons into four equal parts of the poster. Clearly, Spring and Fall are not equal (in time) to Summer and Winter. I need to remember this when I buy/make clothes and I say to myself, "this would be perfect for Spring or fall" because in truth, in Ohio, Spring and Fall are so short, I shouldn't even bother with clothes that I can say are appropriate for Spring and Fall. From now on, only fashions for Summer and Winter. I realize not everyone reading this is in the same predicament, but still, I'm no longer going to waste my money on clothes I don't get an opportunity to wear.

The photo above is at a County park about a mile from our house. The kids and I went this past weekend to see "Thanksgiving on the Frontier" which had people dressed in period costume and using butter churns and stuff.

And here's our side yard. I was worried with the drought that we wouldn't have good colors this fall, but here they are!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

City Backpack

Check your mailbox for the new issue of Crochet! The January 2008 issue just arrived in my mailbox and my City Backpack is in it! on page 40 and 43. It is a felted backpack that uses both Lion Wool and Moda Dea Sassy Stripes. I also made this bag and gave it to a friend for her birthday this year.

This was the sneak peak I gave you:

And here are some full photos:

This one, I'm looking forward to getting back, so I can use it! I was hoping to have a photo of the new cover for you, but it's not even posted on their website yet! Get Crochet!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chickee Crochets

Chickee's school PTA is sponsoring a "talent show" but they are including visual arts, as long as the entry is no thicker than 3/8". So, Chickee wants to do a crochet project, but since I have her using a "N" hook and worsted weight yarn, her project is much thicker than the limit of 3/8". I think she ought to submit it anyway, don't you think? How many crochet items do you think are going to be submitted? The teacher said that they are just discouraging sculpture and thick collages because of the limited "wall space" in which to display anything. We can pin her project to a piece of foam core/poster board and it should be ok. So here's a photo of her working on her project...notice she is changing colors all on her own! I only showed her once and she got it!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Clay handled hooks

Look at this great new hooks! I got them from ebay. The lady who makes them is a member of Crochet Partners! I love them! They are pretty and practical. So many crocheters like to collect fancy hooks, but I've never been keen on hooks that I'm afraid to use. These I can USE, and their fun! Check out her products
If you have trouble with the link, go to ebay, search "crochet hook stress" and it is the first choice.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Felted Spa Bag

I have some ready made bags available on Etsy. Soon, I hope to have the pdf instructions available for purchase. Here's a few other colors and the grey "Regency" one on the right side of the blog page. The blue-ish one above is "Palais", and the one below is "Harvest".

Friday, November 9, 2007

Becoming a Designer

Here's what I recommend you do if you want to become a designer (in no particular order):
  1. Join the CGOA,

  2. Subscribe to as many crochet magazines as you can (you should support the industry and see what else is "out there", and what the editors like, you should also study the pattern writing styles)

  3. Have Internet access (yeah, you got that!)

  4. Have a decent digital camera

  5. read blogs of designers like Kim Guzman's Wips and Chains (at right), and Robyn Chachula's Crochetbyfaye (at right), and Designing Vashti (Vashti Braha) and others

  6. Complete the CGOA's Masters' of Basic Stitches Course ($75, but you'll know if you have the foundation skills required to begin)

  7. Read "Homemade Money" by Barbara Brabec

  8. Get a copy of the latest "Writer's Market Guide" (it's for authors, but this is how I learned about submission guidelines, editorial calendars, query letters, etc) Don't buy it, get a copy from the library.

  9. Make specific goals, for example, in 2008 I want to: design 3 projects and submit them, write your goals down and refer to them every so often.

  10. Gather submission guidelines from various publishers/magazines, usually the contact info is in the magazine itself,

  11. Read "Publish Your Patterns" by Nancy Restuccia, There's also stuff in there about copyright law

  12. Hire/get a friend to make a model from your written patterns, BEFORE you submit them.
  13. Then, after doing the above, ask for a mentor through CGOA.
  14. Attend some CGOA and CHA conferences, meet editors and publishers IN PERSON.

That should get you started! Remember, crochet design is a BUSINESS, if you want to be a professional, always act like a professional.

These same ideas are good if you want to become a contract crocheter or tech editor, though those are different skills and we can talk about them another time.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Yarns and More

You've heard me say before, that I often buy my yarn from the "Yarns and More Yahoo Group" run by Jean Jezior. She is running a special for new members who join this free group. Check it out by clicking on the link at the right under the tab "Great Sites to See"

Here's her offer for new members:

"The new member gets:A 10% discount off any order, plus free shipping for any order of$50.00 or more during the Month of November."

To get the Discount: Tell her Ellen at GoCrochet sent ya!

For your patience, reading this advertisement, above is a SNEAK PEEK! I have no idea when or where this one will show up, only that it's name and how it got it, is interesting, though maybe the buyer will change it! Then we can have a discussion about how projects get their names and why they get changed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Inspired by Eminem?

Ok, are you ready to have an open mind? I'm not saying that I like Eminem or anything that this controversial rapper stands for. I certainly am not pleased about his views on women and lyrics about violence and women. But I have to say, he has a song that has a verse that I like. For some reason, it sticks with me. First, if you take out all the lyrics, I love the rhythm. (Why did he have to ruin it with the lyrics?)

He has one song (and I would only recognize a few)... called "Lose Yourself" and it talks about his fear of musical failure and going up on stage and having no music come out. And the verse pumps himself up and says:

"You better - lose yourself in the music, the momentYou own it, you better never let it go (go)You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blowThis opportunity comes once in a lifetimeYou better - lose yourself in the music, the momentYou own it, you better never let it go (go)You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blowThis opportunity comes once in a lifetimeYou better.."

And this excerpt speaks to me, because I see this as kind of a good "motto" of sorts. the whole "Just do it", Virgil's "Fortune favors the bold". The truth is, we need to be active agents in our lives and make things happen for the best.

It really does reflect how I felt about designing in the beginning, I would tell myself, "what's the worst thing that could happen?" and I would answer "rejection", and I would think, "what would be so awful about that? So, I would waste some time and postage, I'm going to crochet anyway, my family still would be fine, my life could go on as usual, so what should stop me from trying? Nothing. There is no reason not to try that which you truly want to do. I kept coming back to "I'm going to crochet why not try to sell what I make?"

The funny thing is... Eminem's wrong, we don't just get "one shot", we have infinite numbers of chances to be what we want to be, big or little chances. Crochet you can always frog out and do again.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Gauge Worksheet

Some designers do their gauge math on Excel, but I don't remember how to plug in the formulas to get the math to work out. You see, when I was in college, and I took what was "Lotus" at the time, my class met on Friday mornings at 8am. I wasn't much of a partier, but I am a sleeper, and I'm sure that while I was present for the majority of the classes, I may not have been fully awake.

Ok, back to the subject. I have a 'Gauge' worksheet that I use when I am trying to figure out the math on a swatch to determine my stitch counts for the project. It looks something like this:

Gauge Worksheet

Project Name __________________ ID #__________
Stitch reference: _____________________

Swatch #1
Yarn: _________________________________
Hook: ________________________________
Size: _________________________________
Rows: __________________________________
Sts: ________________________________

Row gauge = # of rows/swatch height = ______ =X 4” = ____
St gauge = # of sts/swatch width = ______ X 4” = _______

Each row is what fraction of 1”? # of inches / rows = ________
Desired height ___ / this fraction ____ = # of rows needed.

Each sts is what fraction of 1”? # of inches / sts = ________
Desired width ___/ this fraction ____ = # of sts needed.
Comments about drape, sleaze, squishiness, and softness: ________________

Monday, November 5, 2007


Are you, like me, becoming a computer zombie? I know when it happened, it was the day I joined Ravelry. Are you on Ravelry yet? If you're not, be glad, because it is so addictive. I really am spending way too much time there and not enough time crocheting! I'm hoping that when I get my "notebook" page all filled in with all my stash, all my projects, all my patterns, all my photos, that it will slow down. What is Ravelry? It is an online community of crocheters and knitters where we can send messages, have forums, show photos, show patterns, keep track of your wips, keep track of your stash, etc. It is just fun to see all the photos that people have up of themselves. Very, very interesting to get to put faces with the names, well, the screen names. I'm going to have to go on a Ravelry diet, because I have been bingeing!

I have also been working very hard on items for the etsy shop. I'm pretty sure this beanie will be there soon. I'm planning to eventually sell both ready made staple items and pdf crochet patterns. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sneak Peek

Psst! Here's a sneak peek for you! I know it's hard to wait to figure out what they are going to be! It's hard for me to wait too! But this one is SO WORTH THE WAIT! Mostly because I took photos during the design process and I'm going to share it all with you when you can see the project and talk about how I came to this design and some of the tricks I use to make design decisions. Hmm? Is that intriguing?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Are you patient?

For some things, I am patient, very patient. I can wait, for example, for Chickee to become a teenager, and I can wait, for Chief to got to school full-time and leave me with a choice. But there are instances when I can't wait.

For example, I have sold over 30 designs that are in the hands of the buyers, I've been paid, but there is no schedule of when or where they will appear. I don't know if I should give you sneak peeks or not, because I don't know, will it take 6 months to have them appear somewhere? A year? A few of the designs I sold in Spring of 2006 and I have no idea what the buyer has chosen to do with them.... maybe they are placed and I just don't know it? maybe they are on a yarn band somewhere? maybe they are a free pattern on a website? So, Ill wait, anxious to share with you!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Part 2

What perfect weather we had for Trick or Treating! No snow, no rain, it's was slightly crisp, perfect! The top photo is from left to right, our niece (we'll call her Ann) in the ghost costume, then Chief, then Ann's brother (we'll call him Michael) is the buff SpiderMan, then Chickee.
I made Chief take off his mask so I could see his handsome face.
Chickee is wearing a crocheted poncho! I made it a couple of years ago for Halloween, and it has worked out great...mostly. She can wear regular clothes and just throw the poncho over the top and she's warm! Which comes in handy when in Ohio in October. The thing is, I made the poncho, then after it was all finished, she decided she wanted arm-holes through the front. warned, this is the scary part...I CUT (gasp!) holes through the fabric and attempted to stitch them secure with sc around the openings, for the sc, I reached as far into the fabric as I could, and held my breath. It lasted about 5 minutes and a 18" tear rent through the front. Ugh. So I whipstitched that together like a really bad scar, and it has held now through 2 Halloweens. I figure all the odd stitching gives it character, and no self-respecting witch would wear a pristine cape/gown/dress anyway? Say it with me, "As long as Chickee is happy...everybody's happy". And she must be, since this is the second year she has worn it!