Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Conference Planning: What I'm doing today

The Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH, that features the CGOA national conference (previously referred to as "Chain Link") is next week! I've actually been planning for this conference for MONTHS. I've been creating my handouts for my session on "The Business of Crochet" that I will teach at the Professional Development Day (Wednesday). I've long since completed my paperwork for my Fashion Show Entry and my Design Contest entry. I've long since registered for as many classes as I can fit into my schedule. (When I'm there, I want to squeeze every minute of learning and fun out of the event that I can. I don't want to waste any opportunities!).

Today I shipped my "class" materials to the hotel. Hopefully it will be there waiting for me when I arrive and it will be less to have to carry on the plane. The plan is to then ship it home too!

Today I'm also working on three major projects for deadlines that hopefully I can mail before I leave.

Tentatively, I'm planning to "meet up" with my readers on Friday around lunchtime. If you are coming to the conference, visit this thread on Ravelry to see the details for the meet up.

One of the classes I'm going to take asks for us to use crochet thread. Uh-oh. I'm not much of a threadie. I'll bring thread though and the right hook, but I'm also bringing some worsted weight yarn and an "I" hook and beg the instructor's indulgence if thread doesn't work out if I can learn on something big enough to hold!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Crochet Adorned... Part 2!

Linda Permann chimed in the comments section that there are actually many more motifs and stitch patterns than I counted! Please read her comment at the end of the Book Review for more information. I apologize, Linda, for overlooking the obvious.

Book Review: Crochet Adorned

While at TNNA, I met Linda Permann, author of Crochet Adorned! Linda's concept is so timely. It is perfect timing for projects and inspiration that reuse, upcycle and use up stash! Her book includes 20 projects with both written instructions and stitch diagrams, but the theme goes beyond the projects. There are also 25 trim patterns, 16 motif designs, and 28 (that I counted) stitch patterns. But it's the theme that made me run to my closet to see what I could cut-up, upcycle, embellish or make great with a little bit of crochet magic. Many of her projects take ordinary things you might already have, (or could buy) like, t-shirts, aprons, a raincoat... and adds a little crochet something, something. (My inner editor, cringes at the idea of writing 'sumpin, sumpin'.) Many of the projects also stand alone like the earrings, belt, table mat, etc.

The projects had me saying to myself, "I could DO that!". The Floral Motif Yoke Top... adorable. How easy would that be to use an old pillowcase and make one of these for Chickee? I might even find a way to avoid all sewing! The Pretty Petals Tank... too cute. The Breezy Tunic... boho great! Instructions for how to attach crochet onto fabric items are included.

Don't be afraid of making garments anymore! Take a fabric garment that is just average and make it great. I don't know if you can get onto Linda's Ravelry page to see more, but if you can, here's the link. Then run to your closet and see what can be made new again!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mid-year Check-in!

It's just about time to do our mid-year check in on goals! Also, it's time to print/save the financial reports and receipts for the first half of the year! This shouldn't take but less than 5 minutes because you've been keeping up with it all year, right? :)

What goals did you have for 2010? Did you make resolutions? Are you half-way there? The year is half over, you'd better either get on it, or if your goal was unrealistic, it's time to make new goals. You might have even accomplished some things you hadn't anticipated! Add those things to the list and cross them off as achieved! Give yourself credit!

I just looked at the goals I made for myself for 2010. I wrote them in December or January. Some of them I've already accomplished, some are on their way, some I had forgotten about. I probably have about 10 goals. The fun part was adding things to the list simply so I could cross them off... like... designing my first knit pattern! Remember the Raspberry Knit Ascot? in gorgeous yarn from Scarlet Fleece? I need to do a "shout out" to Kat at Scarlet Fleece who was so nice to me at TNNA. They have great yarns.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


It's been a long time since I did a fiction post. As usual, I have a wide variety... here we go!

Not Becoming My Mother by Ruth Reichl
I was a little put off by the title but kept an open mind. It was a quick, easy read, which is what I was looking for at the time. Ruth wrote about her real-life Mom who had extraordinary talent but was pushed by her parents and by the convention of the time to put aside her talents and become a housewife. Stifled by this role and clearly a fish out of water, her mother didn't excel in the role. Ruth grew up seeing her mother flailing through life. As a result Ruth makes some decisions about her own life and finds a new respect for her mother. Because this book is actually non-fiction, Ruth communicates her opinions about the roles of women through her attitude. I didn't agree with her but appreciate where she derived her perspective.

The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth J. Duncan
This fictional "who dun it" was charming if not terribly surprising. A nice read full of pretty and interesting and quirky characters. Not racy but intriguing. A beauty salon owner with some maturity uses her skills of observation to help the local authorities solve a baffling disappearance of a bride on her wedding day.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
I didn't make it past page 30. I'm not even sure what it's about. It was set during the Depression and a large family tries to make it through. Interesting descriptions of how the family gathered scraps for recycling to trade for bread. While it has excellent reviews, it didn't work for me.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Despairing. At some point the author evens tells us this is a story of despair. A wealthy man from a small town in Wisconsin in the 1930s? (I can't remember now exactly) writes a want ad for a "reliable wife". The woman who answers is not at all what he expected and she is not at all what we expect her to be. 100 pages or more into the book we find out her true shocking identity. The most interesting part of this tragic book is the man's reaction to learning about the woman's identity and her intentions and then what they do with it. Pretty depressing but very, very interesting.

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, book 1) by Laurell K. Hamilton
This comic-book is the first one in a long series (as all comic books are...). It's a very grown-up series. (Apparently later books get VERY grown up with extremely racy and graphic scenes of violence and sex...just a warning, it's definitely not a book you want to leave laying around with kids in the house and even some adults might find it offensive...) Anyway, back to book 1. Graphic violence, vampire/zombie themes. The main character is the stereotypically drawn buxom woman. Much skin is shown. I found the first book somewhat confusing (all the men except for one, looked the same to me and I had trouble keeping all the characters straight). I also find comic book style difficult to read. I never know what I'm supposed to read next... The main character is a on the side of good but is a tortured soul who rides the line in this mythical vampire/human/zombie world. I'm not sure if I'll read any more of these, it just wasn't that fun of a read. I don't feel compelled to go get the next one.

Bulletproof Mascara by Bethany Maines
I listened to the unabridged version on audiobook. A woman adrift without a clear path for the future, Nikki Lanier stumbles into a job working for a worldwide cosmetics company only to learn that the company doubles as a spy agency. Going through the training camp and then through her first mission, it is slowly revealed that everything that seemed random is really all connected. There is good female camaraderie and a handsome stranger. There is guns and fight action and exotic locals. This is a new book that just came out and I'm sure it is slated to become a series. I'll be looking forward to the next installment.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Faux Shearling Throw Revealed

It's a DOUBLE! It's Eco-Ways (or Super Saver) on the top and Light and Lofty on the back! This heavy warm throw is perfect for staying in! Find the FREE pattern here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Kool-Aid is a powdered drink mix. Add water. It comes in little inexpensive paper envelopes in a variety of bright colors and flavors. I don't know if it is available in the UK, but follow the link to their home site and maybe that will help.

Kool Aid Dyeing!

It felt much warmer outside than 80 degrees as we dyed Lorna's Lace Shepherd Worsted 100% Superwash Wool. It started out in Natural. We soaked it in water first. We filled the other bowls with the Kool-Aid packet and very warm tap water. We untwisted the hanks, but left them tied. Above, Chickee has one end in the blue, the other end in the green, in the span between bowls, she used a turkey baster to squirt it with purple.
Decisions, decisions.
Immediately upon putting the yarn in the dye bowls, it soaked up all the dye. When we pulled out the yarn... the water was nearly clear! So we couldn't use that color again, because it was mostly used up! Then we pulled them out, squeezed out the water and lay them out to dry. But then I hung them out on clothes hangers on the deck in the hot sun. It took about 6 hours to dry. We did the dyeing in the morning and by 7pm they were dry!
So we wound them into balls using the yarn swift. It was much easier than I thought. I was worried the hanks had gotten tangled, but it was not an issue at all!
Here's our four dyed hanks turned into balls. Top left is pale blue and pale green. Top right is blue, purple and green. bottom left is purple, pale green and a little red. The bottom right is red and purple mixed together with the leftover blue thrown in. When we found a white spot on it, we filled it in with purple.
And here, by 9pm, Chickee is knitting with it! How Kool is that! (insert groan here). We'll definitely do this fun activity again next summer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Go visit Marie!

Marie over at Marie's Cozy Corner hosted me on her blog today so that we could introduce ourselves to each others' blog readers. She's got a big following, so go check out my post on her blog and poke around a little.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Giveaway Winner

And, the Giveaway winner from yesterday is.... SURSI! Sursi, if you could please email me at Ellen @ GoCrochet dot com or Ravelry mail me with mailing address I will send out your package! Thanks to everyone who participated. Though TNNA is not open to the general public, Raverly did a great job of covering the spirit of the convention on their site and on a new site called 'Hello TNNA'.

Knit and Crochet Now! I found it!

Here's the link to the Create TV: Public Television schedule. Mine says that on June 27th, in the Eastern time zone my blanket episode (not my interview) but how to make my Diamonds & Squares blanket will be on at 6:00 AM. Play around with it and see if you can find me in your area! I think my interview episode is episode 9 in Season 3.

Here are the kids in their first swim meet of the season (last week). Notice Chief's cast is the same as the Team colors. Go Stingrays!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

TNNA goodies and Giveaway

TNNA is not a cash and carry show... You can't buy something and bring it home. It's a show for retailers to order from the manufacturers. So it's rare that I get goodies to bring home. Every year though, some yarn companies manage to squeeze the time together to make mini-hanks like these or sample cards. The folks from Textured yarn company win my vote for best yarn sample this year. It's the purple mini-skein in the Florafil. I don't know how many yards are in it, but it looks like it is enough to get the feel of the yarn. If they didn't have these hanks, I may have not stopped and given it a try.

Anzula yarns (the raspberry sample) in Oasis, they get a shout out because they had these little samples in a variety of styles and colors. Their "squishy" variety was very intriguing but I think the samples of those were gone before I got there.

Bijou Basin Ranch gets a shout out. Not only did they offer a sample of their Gobi yarn, but it came with an envelope so that it wouldn't get snagged in your bag! Very clever! I think the Gobi is available only in LYSs. So ask yours!

The fine people from SOAK were there! I love these little samples. Check out on their website they have "how to use Soak". If you have never washed your finer fiber things, here's information on how to do it!

The Ultimate in Goodie give-aways, though goes to the Boye group. I need to find a better link for you. Really though, you should be able to find all their great products at your LYS or Michaels, JoAnn's etc. Look at these lovely Rosewood hooks and needles! Susan and Michele even graciously let me choose my favorite "I" sized hook. I'm telling you folks their new stuff is fun. They got rid of those awful hard to use stitch markers and got these GREAT new ones! WooHoo! I ripped open that package right after taking the photo. Look at the great new 3 in 1 reference tool. The flat dial helps you match up your hooks and needle sizes with the right yarn. Very clever! The peach tags at the bottom are tags you can write on and hook into your scrap yarn ball so that you know what it is! The red clips there, that I have photographed with the wrong side facing are little tags you can hang all over your crocheted garments while they are under construction so that you don't get confused (I really could have used these recently when I put the back of a toddler sweater on to the body...sideways...) The tags all say something like, "top, bottom, private (side), public (side), sleeve, front, back, etc) LOVE IT.

Send me a comment on this post and I'll put your name in the drawing for the 3 in 1 tool. I'll announce the winner tomorrow, so check back tomorrow. In the post, just make sure you leave some sort of identifying information like first name and city. (Don't leave any private information or links...links get you disqualified!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TNNA more Day 2

Here's Robyn Chachula! Author of Blueprint Crochet and her latest book, Baby Blueprint Crochet, will be out in November/December.
You know Doris Chan, me, and Vashti Braha as we went for a walk in the fresh air! Oh, you get a sneak peek in this photo... on my shoulder... red, blue, and pale gray...
Of course, you know Doris, the author of Amazing Crochet Lace, and Everyday Crochet, and now Crochet Lace Innovations. Vashti is also a crochet designer. I mentioned her in my previous posts in the Showstoppers posts. She also is an innovator in crochet with her blog, Designing Vashti.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TNNA Day 2

Ok, some of these are Saturday and some are Friday. Above is me with designer Linda Permann. Linda is the Author of Crochet Adorned. She also has a new book coming out soon and I got to see a sneak peek. (You're going to love it!).

Flashback! This was from Friday night. Me, wearing the Whisper Wrap, and Marly! You can't see the light blue crocheted tank top I have on underneath.

Flashback from Friday night. Me with the gorgeous Kristin Omdahl. She's beautiful inside and out! Buy her new book, Crochet So Fine! and her previous book, Wrapped in Crochet.
Kristin also has a knitting book coming out soon, but I don't know the title yet.
From left to right, me, Linda Permann, Kristin Omdahl, Marly Bird, and Simona Merchant-Dest. I'll try to get you a close-up of the lavender Tunisian Vest I am wearing in the photo. We are standing in the Bijou Basin Ranch booth.

What a busy day! Tomorrow I'll try to get you photos of goodies and more famous people.

Monday, June 14, 2010

TNNA Day 1

Want to fit a week's worth of work into 2 or 3 days? That's what TNNA is for me! I'm exhausted but overall it was a great weekend. Friday night I got to meet the terrific people from Bijou Basin Ranch yarn. Here we are at dinner.

On the bottom left is Knitwear designer, Simona Merchant-Dest, next to her is Carl Koop of Bijou Basin Ranch, behind him is the entertaining Darlene, aka "Marly's Mom", on the other side of the table by the wall in the white is Carl's wife, Eileen Koop of Bijou Basin Ranch, in the red is author, designer Kristin Omdahl, I'm next to Kristin. In the front, on my other side is designer Marly Bird, of the Yarn Thing Podcast. Marly is also the creative director for Bijou Basin Ranch.

I had a great conversation with Eileen about their Yaks. They raise the animals on their farm in Colorado. The need for their fur however is greater than what they can produce with their herd. They also buy the fiber from other farmers in the United States but also in Tibet and Nepal. Harvesting the fur from yaks does not harm the animal. I learned that the animals are very self-sufficient. She said about half their herd welcomes a scratch behind the ears and a little attention. The other half is a little nervous of people. All of them respond to the dinner bell. :) Bijou Basin Ranch has recently added colors to their natural fiber selections. Thank you Bijou Basin Ranch for your hospitality and for sponsoring events throughout the weekend!

More on TNNA for the next several days. I will be sharing photos of many great new products that I was gifted. Also, more and more photos and shout-outs for many other names you will recognize and information on yarn companies you may or may not be familiar with.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Goals!

For the last few weeks I have been having trouble coming up with my goals for TNNA. There are of course the usual goals of meeting people, having fun, paying attention to trends, thanking companies who have contributed yarn to my projects, etc. But this morning, I woke up with 2 goals... one that I absolutely can make happen and the other one that I can work on and it will be a happy bonus if I manage it!

Above are photos from last night's first swim meet of the season. Chief had to get a new cast yesterday anyway so he chose yellow for team colors. Look at the focus and determination! Chickee said that she tried to smile at me during her backstroke. Silly Chickee.

Ok, I gotta run if I want to prepare to succeed on my new goals (nothing like last minute inspiration!). Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Conference Planning: What I'm doing today

Scrambling. That's what I'm doing! I'm gathering up my list of available design sketches and ideas and putting them in one spot. I want to carry a bunch, but I don't want to load myself down either. Bags get really heavy on the conference show floor.

We have an extremely busy day with Swim team practice and a Dr appt for Chief and the first Swim Meet of the season tonight. I'm trying to stitch another garment in time to wear this weekend. I have a feeling I will be stitching it all weekend while I'm there in hopes to wear it on Sunday? I'm trying to get the house ready for my departure so that DH has it easier while I'm gone. Oh, and Chickee is not feeling well. sigh.

Above is Chief with one of the babies. We have moved them outside now and they seem to love it. They are segregated from the two big chickens because the big ones are mean to the little ones. We need to wait until the babies are big enough to hold their own.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sneak Peek

Ah, green. Like a breath of fresh air. It's nice to work with green for a change. I wonder why I don't often get to work with green? Today I'm going on a design binge. I'm going to try to design as many great things as possible in one day. It's going to be a challenge but better today than tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be really, really busy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Conference Planning: What I'm doing today

TNNA is just a few days away. Today I have been adding notes to my folder about which booths I want to make a point to see (along with a contact name and a note to jog my memory...) I'm stitching a sweater I hope to wear to the event! (YAY!) and I have two other items I'd love to get done before then. Today I'm going to print out my driving directions to the hotel (usually the logistics of getting somewhere make me more edge than the relating-to-everyone-once-I'm-there part).

Today, I'm also thinking about what is needed at home while I'm away. Chief needs a b-day present, SIL needs a b-day card, we're doing Father's Day early, etc.

Then, after TNNA its back to some serious stitching to meet deadlines.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Erin wears crochet bib

This is our Niece, Erin, wearing a bib I crocheted for her. Since you all are such animal lovers, I thought I'd include the photo of Henry and Samson (our dog-nephews) waiting for Erin to drop something. I wonder if they like squash?

The bib pattern is a sized-down with smaller yarn version of my Pocket Bib (Lime)

After finishing the book, I spent the weekend relaxing and completing a small project to ship this morning and working on a project that I hope to wear to TNNA this weekend. (for ME!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

The book. Break out the milkshakes!

THE BOOK IS DONE!!!! (yes, I know there are still edits and photoshoots and stuff to do, but...) THE BOOK IS DONE!!!!

How do I write a crochet/knit book?

Let me start by saying that when I stayed home with the kids when they were first born, I had grand ideas of writing children's books. They only have 50 words in them, so how hard can it be? Right? Wrong. It, like most things, is difficult, but looks easy when done well.

Every week someone asks me how they too can write a crochet/knit book. I have been working hard in this profession since 2004 and just now getting to that point. I have many, many friends who have been publishing their work in magazines and leaflets for years and do not have a book (and they may not have wanted to do one). On the other hand, a few people appear to burst onto the scene with a book deal never having written or published a pattern ever (but I can't think of any...). But really, a publisher is taking a calculated financial risk and investment when taking on an author and they are looking for someone who demonstrates a track record that may (it's an educated guess they make) may indicate financial success for everyone involved.


Your first steps are to join the Crochet Guild of America, and apply for professional membership and request a mentor. I would assume that someone applying for professional membership has already done some research, written some patterns, had them tested by friends at the minimum and probably even submitted several to publishers. The mentor is a volunteer, who is in essence helping others to compete with them in the same field. (Be nice to your mentor). To write a book, it would be good to get a copy of the Writer's Market guide and learn about how publishing works. You won't know if you can trust a publisher, it's really hard to find people who will share that information but you can see authors you respect and who their books are written with and if they stayed with the same publisher through multiple books. You could consider getting an agent. Other authors have them and love it. I do not have an agent. Is anyone out there a literary agent?

Above is a close up of one of the deer babies, because they were just so cute I couldn't resist.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweet thing

Look at this little sweetie! Our neighbor, Maureen, called us yesterday with news of this baby and his sibling's arrival the day before. Nested in two different locations in their backyard, the babies were curled up so sweetly that you could almost walk right by the one without even noticing him. They were much smaller than I expected them to be. He looked about the size of Charlie! We also saw several interesting birds, horses, etc, but the two baby deer were definitely the highlight. Chief and Chickee promptly found 3 four-leaf clovers and left them next to the babies for good luck (and one for Maureen as a 'thank you' gift). Maureen said that the mother deer hovers nearby in the edge of the woods and comes out when it's 'safe'.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I'm just writing a quick note to let you know that I don't have time to write today. Today was the last (half-day) day of school. We went on a little field trip to a neighbor's house and they had various furry and sweet creatures in their back yard. I'm going to post photos. Let's just say that they were not domestic animals but I so wanted to pick them up and give them a cuddle.

Trying to get the book out the door by Friday, Saturday at the latest.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

All our Chicks are growing up...

This week, I have been working to finish the book. I have a few other projects that are in progress too. I keep each project and it's tools and notes in it's on separate project bag so that I can just grab one and go and have everything I need.

This past week, Chickee turned 9. She decorated her cake on her own! We're so proud of her.

And all our babies are getting their big chicken feathers. We let them outside for a few hours each day in a pen. It's definitely been warm enough!
The big coop is almost done, but in the meantime, the 2 big chickens that are left get to hang out in the yard (with supervision). No more free lunch for the fox.