Monday, April 24, 2017

Vacation Re-cap

Last week was a super busy week for us! It was spring break for the kids. Chief went with his 8th grade classmates to Washington, DC. They had a great time squeezing in as much as humanly possible. I followed along with him by text and stalking him through the Find Friends app on our phones.

Chief is on the far right. What a great kid. I just love that guy.

Wednesday I'll reveal where Chickee and I were all week.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Deadlines!

 Except while on vacation! Still, crochet deadlines won't wait. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Runner Spotlight

My Running group on Facebook featured me for the Spotlight recently so I thought I'd share:
SPOTLIGHT ON ELLEN GORMLEY!
1. Give us the basics: Age? Married? Kids? Job? Pets?
I’m married, 44 with a daughter, 15, and a son, 14. I’m in between jobs and I still am a freelance crochet author/designer. I have two cats, a guinea pig, and 7 chickens. 

2. How did you get involved in Sub 30? (Our club)
I can’t remember! It was probably about 4-5 years ago. 

3. How long have you been running?
I began running almost 5 years ago. By some divine providence both kids had soccer practice at the same time at the same field and there was a paved trail around the park. I began walking during practice but quickly got bored so I started running… running the flat parts, walking the hills. Running during the parts that were in plain view and walking the parts hidden in the trees. 

4. How has running changed you?
Running has changed how I view myself. Running is something that I make happen, it doesn’t just happen to me. I make my life happen. My family is proud of my running. I’m proud that my kids see me working hard to take care of myself. 

5. Do you have a specialty/specific interest? What's "your thing"? (roads, 
trails. I’m really too klutzy for obstacles. I’d still be “in” for a trail run if friends are going. 

6. What distance do you prefer, and would you like share your PR? 
I like the 10K distance but I’m most proud of my 10 Half Marathons. My PR is from my first HM (when I was too na├»ve to understand how awesome I did!) 2:20. My 5K is from a few years ago 29:46, 10K is 1:02. I’d really love to go sub-60 in a 10K one day! 

7. Do you follow a training plan created by someone else or do you make your own or do you not follow a plan at all? 
My Half PR came after following the Another Mother Runner Prove It training plan. I haven’t been loyal to a training plan since, which probably explains my lack of PRs since then. 

8. Guilty pleasure after a long run/workout?
After a long run or race I really crave a BIG BURGER. Yum. 

9. Coolest place you ever ran? (bonus points if you can add a picture) 
I ran while on work/vacation in Galway, Ireland! On my run I learned that it’s really difficult to cross the road at a roundabout where the traffic doesn’t stop and is going the opposite direction from my instincts. 

10. Who/ What inspires you? 
I am inspired by sunshine, even if it’s cold. I’m inspired by music and it’s easier to get out the door if I turn on the music while I’m getting laced up. Volunteers and spectators at races are really helpful in addition to a well-placed photographer to make me put more spring in my stride.
 
11. When not running, what is your favorite thing to do? 
If I’m not running or driving the kids around then I’m crocheting and designing crochet projects. I wish I had more time for reading and cooking. 

12. Tell us something about you that we don’t already know. 
Some of you already know that I’m on the tv show, Knit and Crochet Now, which airs on PBS. We’ll be filming again in May.




Monday, April 17, 2017

My Mountain Man

Hopefully when you are reading this, spring will be in full swing! I'm writing ahead to post when I need a day off. :) Also, sometimes I procrasti-blog.  I write posts ahead when I should be doing other things and then I save them on days when I'm actually busy.

So Tom is in training too. He has had a bucket list wish to climb Mt. Rainier for as long as I can remember. For some reason (milestone birthday?) he feels that THIS is the year. He's been working out with a personal trainer, shifting our diets as much as we can and adding weekly hikes, strength training and cardio to his usual biking.

We actually have a county park within walking distance of the house. In early March I went with him on his hike through the rolling hills and trails of the park. The 5 mile hike was easy for me but much more difficult for him since he carries a weighted backpack to simulate all the gear and water he will have to carry on his expedition. He usually hikes 6-8 miles but the snow made the hills muddy and gross so we cut that day short. His trip is scheduled for mid summer.

Fitness doesn't have to be running, treadmills or biking. Hiking, walking, even unconventional activities like Frisbee or hula-hooping all count!

Do you have a bucket list fitness or well-being type goal? Is THIS your year? Did your heart rate speed up just hearing this question? Perhaps you haven't actually put your goal on the list yet! Whisper it, then write it down.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Breaking in: A question



Let's share with the class!  When one person has a question, it's usually the same question that many others have!  Here's an exchange between me and S.

S writes:

I just started following your blog today and I just wanted to let you know that is is very inspiring. My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was five years old and I've been crocheting ever since. I graduated from a college a year ago and have kind of found myself at a crossroads, wondering what's next and what do I really want to do. I had no idea that there were opportunities to turn crochet into a possible career until I started investigating a few months ago! Right now I'm in the process of becoming a CGOA member. If you have time, please tell me how you came to be a crochet designer and offer any basic tips for a girl just breaking into the field. Are there any other good blogs out there that I should follow? I would be really grateful. 
My reply: 
Thank you for your interest in becoming a crochet professional.  There is a great deal of competition among aspiring crochet designers.  To figure out if you are suited to the profession, I suggest you read the posts on my  blog that are labeled, "Become a Designer".

Joining the CGOA is definitely the right first step.  Read, study, write patterns, get people to test them for you. After you have done a good deal of research and established your goals, you can apply for Associate Status as a CGOA crochet professional.

Thanks so much for reading my blog! I look forward to seeing how you develop your career.

S writes again:
Thanks for your response. I have been crocheting a lot lately and have been trying out more advanced patterns. I'm currently working on a shrug for my mother. I'm just having a hard time getting started! It's a pattern by (designers name withheld) published by (publication name withheld) and the way the pattern is worded by this publisher is really confusing to me. I've tried looking for the designer on sites like ravelry.com to see if I can ask for help but no success there. Any pointers?

Here's where it gets tricky....
I really don't have the time to help S with a pattern by another designer, but if she wants to be a designer, she has the perfect opportunity to practice her problem-solving and creativity skills!
so, I wrote back: 

If you are having a hard time following a pattern, perhaps you should allow your improvising spirit of a designer to take over and find a solution.  As designers, we constantly solve problems... how to make it work. Challenge yourself and see if you have the creative spirit to get it done.

What would you have said?


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Do I Dare?


I hate that we live in a world, where on a bright Saturday morning, I have to make a decision whether or not I dare to run alone on a trail. There it is, the trail entrance in a busy park. Tempting me. I think, how many people have I seen in the park? What kind of people? What are the odds of a bad person being on the trail? What are the odds that a bad person would be up to no good at this time of day? Is it well-lit? This time of year, I can still see through the trees pretty well... I can turn off my music so that I can hear. What does my gut say today? Do I dare? Do these same questions go through the minds of male runners?


Yes, today it seems the odds are in my favor. You can't let fear rule your life but reality is what it is. Be smart.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

These Working Hands

Occasionally a product comes along that surprises me. There are a few things in life that strike me as, "totally worth the price". My prescription sunglasses for example, awesome. I love them. Totally worth the money I spent on them. It's really nice though when that happens and the sticker price doesn't require you to take out a loan.

I bought O'Keefe's Working Hands at the drug store because it was an obviously un-girly package and Chief's hands also get really chapped and I thought he would be willing to use this. (He is)

Sometimes I am reminded that crochet is an art that takes its toll on the hands. Working with fiber and paper seems to dry out my hands. Add in being a mom and constantly washing my hands, cooking, cleaning, washing my hands again... many times lotion burns.

I was surprised at how much I love Working Hands Lotion. It's unscented, it didn't burn my hands, it absorbed quickly and the NEXT day, after using it one time, I still felt like it had made an improvement in my skin.

*I was not paid for this endorsement, I just really liked it and thought you might like it too.



Friday, April 7, 2017

Knit and Crochet Now Update!

Robyn Chachula asked me a few fun questions for the Knit and Crochet Now update. Since Robyn has been a dear friend for so long I knew chatting with her would be fun! Here's the result of that quirky conversation. Find out why not making the Junior year volleyball team was a good thing. Find out my deepest thoughts about fringe. Also, read exactly how I started running.



I'm trying to embrace my new "reader" glasses. Channeling my inner librarian? School teacher? Editor?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My Car Talks to Me

And it's telling me to RUN.
It figures. I've been super productive with my 40 designs in 40 days challenge (getting closer to on-goal again). I've made good progress toward other crochet project goals but I haven't had time to run.  It seems like I can never create a balance of both. When I'm productive with one, the other suffers. Tomorrow I will run. I will run long on Saturday and home to create some sort of balance. Hopefully my crochet productivity won't lag in the process.

I do know that when I am productive, I feel better about myself and feel more optimism than when I am stuck. That is why I try hard to give myself credit for the things I DO, and not beat myself up for the things I didn't get to yet.

Maybe that is why I love the final edging on crochet projects so much! I get to fasten off and complete a project! That when FO stands for 'Fasten off' and not, uh... go away... FO. heehee

Monday, April 3, 2017

Show Up!


Show up. If you show up on Monday the rest of the week feels doable. It's just like making your bed in the morning. Theories say that making your bed in the morning is not important because of having a neat room. It's important because the first thing you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Making your bed is symbolic of starting the day with accomplishment. Whatever happens after that, they day is not a total loss because at least you made your bed. ;)

Let's show up today, shall we? For me, I'm going to work on the Yarn Trends Newsletter that I write for Annie's, I'm going to work on the family budget, I'm going to run at least 30 minutes, I'm going to check in with a friend who had surgery, and then I'll crochet on the secret project, and pick up groceries that I ordered last night. And yep, I made my bed.

How are you showing up today?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sneak Peek! Go For It!

I'm offering a sneak peek today, but first, a random dog photo.


I know how you all like dogs too, not just cats. This is Henry my Sister-in-law's dog. Isn't he sweet? 

And here's the sneak peek!  I just can't stop thinking about my love/obsession with Bruges Lace, so why try? Go For It.
Image result for Meme If you can't stop thinking about something

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?

LET'S GET MOVING! 

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.