Friday, January 29, 2010

Thank you!

Thanks everyone! All the kind comments are so motivating and inspiring to me. Flattery will get you everywhere... I think to thank you, I'm going to organize a Valentine's Day giveaway! Stay tuned.

Pixie Dress behind-the-scenes

Above is one of the original sketches for the Pixie dress that will be in the new issue of Crochet Today magazine, March/April 2010.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Crochet Today Preview is up! March /April 2010

I knew as soon as I said that there would be no more shameless plugs that some would 'pop' up. LOL. Anyway, so I'll put two today so as not to drag it out!

Find the sneak peek of the new issue here.
And here are my patterns from the issue!

First, remember this sneak peek?

Do you recognize it? It's the Swaddling Baby Blanket with a Pomp-a-doodle edging.

And here's another sneak peek you may remember...
And the big reveal! It's the Pixie Dress in Red Heart Lustersheen with a little bit of ribbon thrown in for fun. She looks happy, I hope she liked it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Traveller Bag PDF now available

Yes, I have been crossing things off my to-do list left and right! Finally, the Traveller Bag, originally seen in Inside Crochet magazine, is now available as a PDF download. The pattern is written in US terminology, which is different from the UK terminology you saw in Inside Crochet. Details are the more readily US available yarn, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. The Elsebeth Lavold option will use a smaller hook and result in a smaller bag. This bag is made entirely of sc, just 2 colors per row, so easy, if you know how to change color or add a new yarn, you can to it! I'm sorry, a color chart is not available at this time. The pattern is in written instruction but is available for $5.00.

I love this bag and carry mine often! This is the last 'shameless plug' for a while (I think). I still want to get the First Communion Dress PDF out and the Summer Blues Baby Dress PDF too. But those may have to wait a week or two or more.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Riverstone Vest now available!

Now available as a PDF download for $7.00USD. This professionally tech edited pattern is so easy! There is some shaping done with decreases and there are some Front Post stitches involved in the color edgings. But, really, you can do it! Sizing is from 32" to 48". This model is made in Louet Riverstone . Louet calls it a light worsted #3, but really, it felt like a #4 worsted to me. Make sure you do a gauge swatch. I wore this sweater vest in my interview on Knit and Crochet Now, tv show. They have a new name, a new website and a new season that started this past weekend! You're going to love it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Glass Cozies Revealed

These quick, easy, cotton glass cozies are so much fun. The juice glass on the right is what I have on my water glass in our bathroom. The Highball glass is fun too. There are many great patterns in the book for table runners, tote bags, blackberry cozies, and more. There are designers name's you'll recognize like Marty Miller, Darla Sims, Christy McMahon, and Tammy Hildebrand. When you look at the book link, you'll be able to look at more photos from the book. There is a hard copy and electronic copy option. Produced by Annies' Attic, you'll find it all here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chickee's scarf "Go To" Scarf

The Go To Scarf PDF is now available. You first saw it here when I was testing the Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe yarn. I re-stitched the scarf in Universal Cotton Supreme and added some optional color accents. But really, you can make this scarf in any yarn at any gauge. It's quick and easy. I think I'm going to begin making some NOW for holiday gifts in 2010. And here it is now! Download the PDF for $3.00USD

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just a little more

Thank you, everyone for your kind words and condolences about the passing of our friend, Dottie. Thanks, also for those of you who have read Chickee's blog and offered words of comfort.

I just have to share this awesome article about Dottie and her National Trick Waterski Championship achievements. There is also a delightful photo of her.

Read about this amazing woman here.

The loss of a crafty friend

We lost our dear friend and next door neighbor, Dottie on Wednesday morning. Above is a photo of her from when I taught her to crochet in 2008. We met in 2006 when we moved to this house. We moved in September and by December she had invited us to her and her husband's home for their annual Christmas party. It had been a neighbor tradition for some 30 years.

Dottie had a fabulous craft/sewing room with an awesome view of the River. She was a great quilter and gave Chickee sewing lessons. She helped Chickee make the above quilt and the little purse below. Dottie made a quilted purse that I keep out all the time full of crochet hooks and notions. Oh, Chickee doesn't want me to show them, she wants to make her own post for Dottie on her blog, which is at

I have posted about Chickee's sewing projects in previous posts, you'll find them under the label "teaching crochet"

Here's the previous post of 2008 when I taught Dottie and other neighbors to crochet. here

Dottie was a wife, mother, Christian. She was also a senior champion trick water skier. :) She and her husband, Ron, went to the Costa Rica rain forest in the 2008 to go zip-cording through the jungle. She was an inspiration in many ways.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

GoCrochet not me on CrochetMe

Hi all, if you are on also, someone took the name "GoCrochet" but it's not me. I'm told there is nothing I can do about the confusion. Sorry. On CrochetMe I'm Ellen Gormley.

Trying again...and saying 'no'.

Ok, I didn't get to work on the Book again yesterday. Today I am shipping a project (yay!) and then the Book! Yesterday, Susan commented with concern about me not going too fast and burning out. I'm not sure how to slow down! It's so hard to say, "no" to work! I think that no matter how much it pains me, I'm going to skip the CGOA design competition that occurs at the CGOA conference this summer. I'm also going to put new designs to wear to TNNA in summer on the back burner.

I'm going to also have to come up with a good line for saying, "no" to family and friends who want a "quick scarf" or hat. They mean well and I'm grateful to share my crochet passion with them, however, I always feel like I need to design something new, I use my own yarn, and it takes 1-3 days away from paying work. If I do design something new, then I can self-publish or submit the pattern which may or may not be profitable. It's probably worse when they choose the yarn themselves and I receive a package of something froofy in the mail asking to be "whipped up". Yes, that's worse because it's not likely that I'll be able to submit it anywhere. How do you say, 'no' to family, friends, casual acquaintances who say, "will you make me one?"

Here's another blast from the past, the Zippered Satchel. Made o motifs stitched together with a gusset/strap. A zipper is crocheted in. I punched holes in the zipper then crocheted into the holes. The bag was originally published in Crochet Fantasy in 2005? You can see it on my Ravelry page and the Gallery page.

I'm rambling again. I'd better get back to work instead of just talking about it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I'm so excited, I get to work on the BOOK today. All other work can be put aside for the day, nothing is critical. With the rolling magazine submission and project deadlines it's often hard to find "extra" time to work on the book. While the book is just as important, because I have more time, it often gets pushed aside so I can work on what's urgent. In this business, everything is urgent. From the time the editor/buyer says, "We like it, please make it" to the time it has to be in their hands is short. Very short. Usually between 10 days to 21 days. Sometimes more, but it feels very short. While it's tempting to make the complete item before submission to avoid the crunch, like I said the other day, it's very likely that the editor/buyer will want it in a different yarn or color than was originally submitted, so it will have to be re-made all over again anyway.

But not today! Today (amongst Chief's Dr checkup and my eye dr appt, and exercise...) I get to work on the BOOK. yay! Maybe even tomorrow too! I could get another full project completed by the end of the week. That would be great.

This photo is a blast from the past! It's the City Backpack from an old issue of Crochet! magazine. I can't remember which one. If you're curious you can find it either on my gallery page (link on the right sidebar) or on my project page on Ravelry. It is a felted backpack. The flap is a combination of wool and acrylic yarns. The wool felted and the acrylic didn't causing the mottled colors of the flap. I am showing you this pattern because this backpack has been on my mind... I think I need a new backpack... Something with some color, probably felted.... we'll see. But no, I can't think about that now, I need to work on the BOOK. See how easy it is to get distracted?

Monday, January 18, 2010


Do you remember the Roseanne sitcom? At the very end, when the music was over, all you could hear was her laughing. That's what this photo reminds me of.

Welcome new readers! I don't have anything to say today :) Yesterday I wrote a pattern and emailed it off. New yarn has arrived and I hope to make a complete small project today and maybe even write the pattern. But today is Martin Luther King, Jr day, so the kids are home from school and I've promised to take them shoe shopping.

I think we're in a little bit of a lull between issues being released of various magazines, so I don't anticipate any reveals this week. But you never know, sometimes things pop up that I didn't know were scheduled.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Zoe's One dress now available

Zoe's "one day" dress pattern is now available! I made this little dress in the smallest size in just one day for our friend Anna's baby. Baby Zoe is expected soon. Then, because babies grow so fast and I didn't know if Zoe would be the right size in the right season, I made another one! in size 2T. This pattern is in 3mos to 4T sizes. It is made of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, which comes in many very pretty colors. I'm afraid though, that a few of the colors used in the models may already be discontinued! Please decide on your color scheme first before buying. Just like babies that are ever changing, minute by minute, so is yarn availability! I think TLC Cotton-Plus yarn would also work well. The PDF is available for $6.00.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crochet Insider

The latest issue of the free on-line magazine, the Crochet Insider is now up! Dora Ohrenstein writer/author/owner of the Crochet Insider is now carrying several of my self-published patterns through her site. Go take a look at all the new articles and interviews. You can also read articles and interviews from past issues.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Hi all, I'm taking the day off from blogging today. I crocheted 11 hours yesterday and 3 today to finish a project and now I'm making a new scarf for myself and eating cookies. I hope to blog tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Crochet Submission Question

April writes:

Hi Ellen, this is not really about your post, but I have a question for you. How much figuring out do you do for a design before it is accepted for publishing? Do you complete a finished item first? Just a swatch? Schematics and/or charts? Just a sketch? Thanks in advance!

Hi April, I know many people are interested in this topic, so I'll attempt to answer it.

The short answer is that I do as much figuring out as it takes to make sure I can deliver on what I promise. That includes swatching, sketching, maybe a second swatch to make sure I understand the increasing and decreasing for the stitch. Extensive note taking on exactly how I accomplished the swatch. It likely includes a schematic for a garment. If it is a small item like a purse, hat or scarf... likely I make the entire project while I'm designing. It's even better if I make it twice, that way, when I send in the hat for example, I have another one here at home to look at when I re-stitch in the editors preferred yarn and I have one to refer to when writing the pattern. I do try to write as much of the pattern ahead of time as I can. It's just such a wonderful feeling when I'm on a deadline and I go to write the pattern and I see some of the work is already done! I do NOT write out the pattern for garments though, because if the editor chooses a different yarn, the gauge will be different, then the pattern is different...

When I make a submission, I start a project folder at home. I make sure that I note all the yarns I used and hooks, the color names and numbers. I try to keep a photo of the item or a scrap of yarn and the swatches. Unfortunately, sometimes I need these things to jog my memory on exactly what I submitted (and where). I have many ideas floating around out there and I want to be able to remember what I did. Above is one of my early sketches for the Larkspur Wrap Sweater that was in Interweave Crochet, Fall 2009.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chickee's New Scarf; Stitch Nation Yarn

This scarf might be my new Go-to scarf. I might start making these babies in gorgeous Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe for early Christmas gifts for next year! Quick and easy and fun to make. I made this scarf for Chickee, 48" long and about 5.5" wide. Find this new yarn at

As you would expect from a yarn called "Bamboo Ewe" it is Bamboo and Wool.

Tomorrow, I will attempt to answer April's question:

Hi Ellen, this is not really about your post, but I have a question for you. How much figuring out do you do for a design before it is accepted for publishing? Do you complete a finished item first? Just a swatch? Schematics and/or charts? Just a sketch? Thanks in advance!

Monday, January 11, 2010

How NOT to felt Wool yarn

Great question, Susan!

Get a sink full of cool water, put in a cap full of SOAK wash for fibers. Gently submerge the item. Do not agitate, wring, rub, etc. Let the water swish through the fiber as you submerge it. You can let it sit. pull it out and lay the item on dry towels. Gently roll the item up in the towels like a burrito, squeezing gently (not wringing). Use another set of dry towels if necessary until all the drips are out. Lay the item flat and shape it (gently pull to the right measurements if it's a garment). Allow to air dry. You can put a fan on it to help it dry more quickly if you want.

Tomorrow, I'll show you the scarf I made for Chickee this weekend out of Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe!

I'm desperately trying to get the procrastinated project done, working feverishly.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Full O' Sheep Swatch Felted

Here it is! After a quick wash in hot water. I love it! A great affordable choice for felting. I have an urge to get another color and do some surface work and then felt it again, but I don't have any more colors unless I take apart my color swatch stick. If I did it again, I would go down a hook size or two to a maybe a K instead of the N. Otherwise, I think it looks great!

It is a yarn distributed by Coats & Clark, the makers of Red Heart. I'm told that it will be in JoAnn's stores in February, but until then, it's available online at

Susan, I'm going to leave your question about how to wash wool without felting for another day, but it CAN be done :)

Bonus Post: Stitch Nation Yarn

I couldn't resist any longer picking up a hook to play with this new Stitch Nation Yarn. This is the Full O' Sheep variety. 100% Peruvian Wool. But it's 100% Affordable too! I think it's going to retail around $4.99 a skein. Wow. I deliberately used a big hook, an N/ because I'm going to felt it! Let's see what happens! It's in the front loading washing machine now with jeans and some hot water. I'll try to post a photo later today of the "after". I'm thinking about turning this into a scarf for my SIL, ya know, the one who didn't get the Old Shale Knit scarf because I ran out of yarn? This color is "Passion Fruit" but you can see the colors above, beautiful rich colors.

See more at

And the plow goes by...

Chickee left her latest Driftwood Cap at a holiday party, the one I made in blue (above), so, while waiting to get that one back, I started making a Showstopper hat for her.... hint coming... in white and purple (her choice, different from the colors I made the one for submission).

I know you are anxious to see the Showstopper hat... which I am calling the "Dramatic.... _____ Hat", but the cogs of publishing are very slow. IF this hat gets accepted, and when I remake it in the specified yarns and send it in, then it will be photographed, edited, etc. I will likely be 9 mos to a year before you see it in either a preview or in hardcopy. So, we'll all have to wait and see. Waiting is hard, I spend the time designing new things, it makes the time go by more quickly.

We are on another 2 hr delay today... I just heard the plow go by... I really hope we have a "normal" week next week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I finished stitching my Showstopping hat. I know it's good because Chickee immediately asked me to make her one :) I guess that could be criteria #8 of what makes a Showstopper (see previous discussions this past week about what makes a showstopper). Criteria #8 is if Chickee likes it, it's a showstopper.

A few of you have mentioned, and I agree, that sometimes when looking for a project to make, you may want to make something that is not a showstopper, but something that is easy, repetitious and functional with a nice result. Showstoppers are great, but they may be harder to stitch or require more concentration. What's a nice word that doesn't have a negative connotation for one of those projects? A stitch repeater? A rerun? A favorite! A staple? A go-to! Of course, with Go Crochet, it would be a "Go-to" project. Some of you feel this way about my Driftwood Cap :)

School is closed today. It's just now starting to flurry, but the whole city seems to be panicking about the impending snow. I know what I'll be doing today... making another showstopping hat for Chickee while testing and writing the pattern. Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Scavenger hunt

I need to devise a scavenger hunt for you. There are so many of my designs "out there" but I don't know where they ended up (on the cutting room floor? in the discontinued yarn pile?). I should come up with prizes, but I'm not sure how to do it...

Here's some clues of what I'm keeping my eye out for:

1. A toddler topper with fly style.
2. I'm blue and I'm drinking with two hands.
3. I'm so cold I wish my cover had a head pocket.
4. ebb and flow, ebb and flow, over my shoulders but not over my head.
5. Cloudy, cloudy, is there a baby hidden in there somewhere?

Today, I'm working on a hat that I want to be a showstopper. My methods of choice are Complex construction and fantastic yarn.

Oh yeah, we took the kids bowling over break. We had a good fun family time!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas gift for ME

Chickee got a sewing machine!
I got a signed copy of Color By Kristin by Kristin Nicholas. What a beautiful explosion of color.
Sorry about the short post. The kids are on a 2-hr delay and it's throwing our morning off a bit.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Krohn Conservatory Flowers and Crib

Just a little floral inspiration for you today...
Over Christmas break, Christmas eve in fact, we went to the Krohn Conservatory for their holiday display. They also have a Nativity scene with real sheep, donkey, cow, but statues for Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We try to go every year. Above are Chickee, our daughter, age 8, and Chief our son, age 7. Those are nicknames as I try not to use their real names online. In this photo, they are in the Bonsai tree room at the Conservatory.

But after the Nativity, the next biggest attraction is the poinsettias. They are gorgeous.
But I love the Orchid room the best...
the rich and pure colors, the delicacy...
I have no idea what this tall, strong, flute-like flower is, but it's a showstopper :) See the orange trees in the background? Walking into the hot, humid conservatory is like a little blast of rain forest in the middle of winter. It has been around 14 degrees here this week. Tomorrow, I'm going to show you what fiber-related gift I received for Christmas! (And it wasn't even from me!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chickee emailed me....

and this is what she said:

I love you more than chili and cheesy hash browns and ants in the ground and all the wind in thy trees and love you more than all the laundry you do.

Love, love, love our girl.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Tapestry Crochet help

Hi All, JaRon asked a question about working tapestry style for the Chullo Hat and Gloves. I answered the question in the comment section under yesterday's post (Fri, Jan 1, 2010). I often answer questions in the comments section, so don't forget to read them for hidden nuggets of info.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Chullo Hat and Gloves PDF now available!

You first saw it in Interweave Crochet Winter 2008 and now it's available for individual PDF for $6.00

Happy New Year Everyone! I'm headed to Jazzercise this morning, do you think it will be crowded? We took the kids to see the Chipmunks Squeakuel last night. Chief just loves them.