Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Designing Personality

You might think that it takes a 'thick skin' to be a designer. Certainly all designers face rejection and a thick skin would come in handy. I'd rather think that 'resilience' is the better trait. Being thick skinned is to emotionless and doesn't really appeal to me. It's ok to care about your work, it's ok to care about success (however you define it). When disappointment happens, it's better to be resilient, to be able to console yourself and move on. To avoid being disappointed at all is just futile.

So, in summary, it is helpful for a crochet designer if you are:


Not afraid to be yourself/original



Not-so-much a Perfectionist

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Baby Mathilda!

A face only a mother could love! I made a baby hat, and I didn't have a baby 'handy' to try it on. I know the measurements that I was 'shooting for', but I just wanted to know that it would fit. so what does a former Girl Scout do? IMPROVISE! I took a balloon, blew it up to the specified measurement. measured it again, and tied it off. I then took my baby hat and placed it on Baby Mathilda here, and viola' it fit! I can't show you the hat (I'm sorry), but if it gets purchased, I'll display the hat on Baby Mathilda! She looks so cute in her hat! Why Mathilda? I have no idea.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Designing Personality

To some degree, you have to be a self-motivated, self-starter. Especially in the beginning, buyers are not going to ask you to send them submissions, you have to be the one to get yourself excited, get the design worked up, spend some time getting it together, do the research to decide where to send it, get it there. It's up to you. No one else is going to do it for you. When it gets rejected, it's up to you to send it back out to someone else. If you don't do it, no one else will. In this way, you are an island. I am the Commander of my own ship! Nothing happens in my business without me! I knew that nickname should go to someone, it just didn't occur to me that it should be MINE! LOL!

Uh, so, as Commander, I need to take responsibility for my decisions, even when I decided to make a "shag belt"! LOL! Hey, I follow my inspiration, even if it leads me slightly off course!

When I get a rejection, I usually have my items repackaged and sent out again within a week. If they can't see it, they can't buy it. The "Shag Belt" has been retired. Maybe I'll wear it to Manchester NH for the CGOA conference "Chain Link" so everyone will know it's me! lol

Monday, January 28, 2008

Summer Dreams Sneak Peek

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about this sneak peek! It is a highlight of my career, right up there with the cover of Crochet Today back in Dec 2006 (and I'm still thrilled about that one!). In a few short months you will get to see the whole thing! I cannot wait!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Designing Personality

To be a designer, you need to be flexible in your ideas, but really, let's not hurt ourselves. This is Chief doing the "limbo" while on vacation. It was so hysterical! No one explained the rules to him, so he couldn't figure out why all the other kids were doing it the "hard way" when it was so obvious to him that this was so much easier! What a cutie!

But really now, let's not make life extra hard on ourselves. In crochet design, you have to decide how flexible you are able to be without hurting yourself. If you propose a project in blue, and the editor wants it in red, is that ok with you? You have to decide when to stick to your guns and when to be flexible.

If the buyer has now asked you to make the design in red, and you get started, let's say you get 10 hours into the project and you get a call that the plan has changed and it needs to be purple. Can you roll with it? Or would it cause you too much stress/harm/pain/money/time....

When at all possible, I recommend being flexible. Don't be too flexible that you work for less than your design and time are worth.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Acrylic melts

I knew it would (theoretically) but I didn't really think it would, really. Years ago, I made some "hot pads" out of old squares that I didn't feel like making into an afghan. I doubled up the squares, sc them together and have been using them on our dinner table to set platters/bowls on for family dinners. Here's a photo of what hot dishes will do to acrylic yarn. for some reason, I thought that it would take really, really high temperatures to melt yarn. Like, put it directly in the fire hot. Now I know, and so do you!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Designing Personality

Be Organized.

You really have to have some kind of system to be organized. You have to be able to find all pertinent scraps of paper, swatches, yarn bands, sketches, written notes that go with each design. You have to be able to find them easily and quickly to answer questions about your design when asked.

You have to be organized enough to always know where your submisssions are, how you sent them (email or snail mail) and whether or not they are available to submit elsewhere. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, submit the same design to more than one buyer at a time. It is considered very rude and it will hurt your reputation if you do this.

You have to be as much of an OFFICE manager as you have to be a crochet designer. You'll have to find a system to record all purchases, record all income, and have it all ready for your tax person at the beginning of the next year.

I guess you can be an effective crochet designer without being organized, but I would have to think it would be much, much harder, and more stressful.

I'm less organized with my yarn, it's everywhere. :( I am what I am :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Desigining Personality

Don't be Afraid to be Yourself. Even if the rest of the crowd is standing patiently waiting for the Disney boat to get across to the Magic Kingdom, it's ok to pose your own way. This is Chief posing as Spiderman. He held this pose for probably 2 full minutes before I finally said, "what are you doing?" and he said, "Waiting for you to take my picture." Well, ok.

To be a designer the whole point is being original in your use of crochet. I'm not a terribly trendy, stylish, original person in general. If you put me in a crowd of 100 other blonds in their mid-30's you wouldn't pick me out of the crowd and say, "Her! She's the creative one!". Still, to be a designer, your crochet work needs to be your own. It needs to move in a direction that only you can take it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Designing Personality

I labeled this photo "Not a good sign" because this is the frogged out yarn from a garment that I was working on, when I changed my mind about it's shape. I'm not terribly patient, I thought I was a perfectionist, but I'm not. I have learned much about myself through designing, qualities I have, qualities I need to work on. And since, I am an observer of people by education, I thought I would share my thoughts about what kinds of personalities are useful for designing. Oh yeah, I'm going to stretch this over several posts and milk this topic for all it's worth!

in no particular order:

1. "Perfectionist"

I don't think it's necessary to be a perfectionist. In some ways, being a perfectionist will only drive you crazy. It is important to have a drive to be the best you can be, and produce the best project with the fewest mistakes, but at some point, you also have to get it done on schedule. Balancing these two ideas are pretty critical. This is why swatching is so critical. Taking the time to swatch helps you be 'more perfect' the first time, giving you a better shot at producing the best project with the least amount of frustration in the shortest amount of time.

Are you a perfectionist, or can you tolerate a small amount of imperfection for the greater good?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Captain and the Scarf

Who knew Disney could be so funky? In a great way, mind you. This is the Giraffe in the Animal Kingdom's Christmas parade. Very cool. I guess it's because of the African influence with the animals from that continent that the Animal Kingdom seems more "artsy" to me than the other parks.

Total switch of topics....

Captain says the new scarf is not as warm at the old scarf. (he's right, but to his face, I'll say that he's not good at change, lol). Really, I don't remember the fiber content of the Patons katrina, but I'm pretty sure it's not wool. It has a stretchy sheen to it that keeps it cool to the touch. He also said that it is "hole-y". It's sc! I guess I could do a Tunisian stitch in wool and that would solve both issues. I might do this. Since he has never worn crochet before, it's pretty important that he enjoy it so that he'll wear it more (and be a role-model for other men). The future of crochet is at stake here!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Realities of Designing

Here's me swatching in the car on the way to Florida the day after Christmas. I was learning a new stitch pattern and how to Increase and Decrease. I used Red Heart Yarn (as I usually do for swatching)

I admit it, I have tried to stop, and I can't. I can't stop designing. I've tried (for like a week) and the ideas just kept coming. There are many good reasons to stop designing. My good pal, Kim Guzman in her blog Wips n' Chains makes some courageous statements about the realities of crochet design as a profession. If you are thinking of becoming a designer, I encourage you to visit her blog and read Thursday Jan 17th entry.

If you love to crochet, please support your craft by purchasing patterns and books. If you cannot afford patterns and books, please encourage your library to acquire crochet books and magazines for their collections.

If the topic of copyright issues intrigues you, at the bottom right of my blog page is a link to Craftdesigns4you and has an awesome, comprehensive discussion on this issue. If you are thinking about becoming a designer, this is mandatory reading for you.

When I stayed home with the kids and I was facing a decision about what I wanted to do, I thought that I wanted to be a children's book writer. When I did some research, someone, somewhere wrote that s/he couldn't "not write" that writing was just something that s/he had to do everyday like breathing, eating, sleeping, etc. That's how I feel about crochet. It is hard for me to make items from other people's patterns (anymore) because I get inspired to take them in new directions. I think you need to feel this way about crochet to seriously consider becoming a designer. in another post, I'll talk about the personality traits I think are ideal for designing.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Disney photos

Finally! Some Disney photos! Here is the family with Goofy and Pluto (you decide who is who). I'm not sure how I feel about this new camera's capabilities. These photos look a little grainy to me, I'm sure I still need to work with it when I save it for the web.

And here's that little girl wearing the crocheted hat at Disney, it has a red flower on the brim that you can sorta see on the left side.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Scarf for Captain

Here it is! All single Crochet, as basic and beginner as it gets. It's made of Patons Katrina (which I think might be discontinued, but I'm not certain) in black and brown. Captain said he likes it and is wearing it, so that's proof!

Today I'm celebrating the return of my computer (YAY) and the crash of the brakes on my car (BOO!) No, I didn't crash the car. My "brake" light came on and I decided that I had time and there was a tire shop like mere feet from picking up Chief from preschool, so I rolled on into the parking lot and the mechanic said that something "Blew" in my brakes and there was brake fluid "spewing" everywhere and that I probably wouldn't have made it even 3 more blocks without the brakes going out altogether. Wow. How often does a light come on on the dash and we ignore it for miles? We got lucky this time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Afghans for All Reasons & All Seasons

I can't believe that I never 'sneak peeked' it... but I have a new design out in Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss's new book, "Afghans for All Reasons and All Seasons" published by Leisure Arts. I haven't seen it yet, but sources tell me that my "Tropical Flowers" afghan is in it.

And here's a photo of mine of the project, before the color changed,
And a photo of the swatch:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sharing with a snowman

This is me, last year, wearing the Snowman Hat. I love it, I wear it all the time. The only thing that would have been better is if it were made of wool. It is cotton, made in both Lion Cotton and Lily Sugar n' Cream. I like it because it comes down over my ears which keeps me warmer. I also like hats to have a snug fit, which this one does. So it won't blow off in our windy yard. (the neighbor's trampoline flipped over, again, the other day when it was windy. I think it is extra windy up here on the cliff overlooking the Ohio River. We've priced windmills, but alas, it's not possible).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Will wonders never Cease?

My jaw is agape.

My DH lost his favorite plain black store-bought woven scarf. So the other day he comes home from work and what is he wearing? Chief's new checkerboard scarf! So I didn't say anything, I didn't want to scare him off by running up to take a picture (though that was my initial instinct!). So he wears it a few days and this morning he says, "do you have any black yarn?" uh, "yeah, why?". "Will you knit me a scarf?" (please forgive him, he knows not what he says!). I say, "I can crochet you one". He says, "It doesn't have to be today."

Now, we have to forgive him about the slip on the word "knit" because, well, I'm sure he was already stressed about asking me to make him something. It's the same nervous way he asks me for old pantyhose so that he can use it to strain paint....

hmm, so now I'm on the job and it has to be perfect!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I did it!

I taught my friend Lynn how to crochet. How much crochet do you need to know in order to say, "I know how to crochet" ? Well, Lynn picked it up pretty quickly (I think). I've only taught a few people how to crochet, most of them, kids. By the end of our lesson, Lynn was sc and turning and going back and forth and talking at the same time! I had taught her how to rip out stitches when you make a mistake and how to turn, how to ch and sc, and the anatomy of a stitch to help her know where to insert the hook and how she knows when she is "done" with a stitch and a row. So I'm very pleased! Like I said in an earlier post, I gave her a "starter" that was about 4 rows of 15 sc, and let her start from there. I'll have to teach her slip knot, chs, and working into the chains next. She was so excited she made me make her a list of what to buy at the craft store so she could keep going. Of course, I let her keep the starter ball, and because she's a good friend, I let her borrow a good hook (not a disposable hook!) Very, very cool.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chickee's Christmas Gift

I finished Chickee's Christmas gift and I placed it under the Christmas tree, and lo and behold Santa came and filled it with hooks and yarn! I think I was more excited than she was. Oh well, the bag turned out great, I might have to make another for myself...

Of course, she opened the yarn bag right before she opened the gift from Santa that had tickets to Disney World in it....maybe that's why she wasn't more excited about the yarn....

You can't see it in this photo, but there is a felted flower at the base of one of the straps.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Photos are back!

Let's see how this works.... I found an old photo program on this old computer, it's not Photoshop, but will it help carry me through until I get my good computer back? I think I should name my good computer don't you? How about "Sasha", I've always wanted a Calico cat that I could name "Sasha" but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe I should reserve that name just in case.... Ok, I'll come up with something else? Anyone have any suggestions?

Ok, let me post a photo from the old computer's photo program. This is our family on Christmas Eve at the Grandparent's house! HA! It worked! WooHoo!
BTW, Chickee is wearing the first sweater I ever designed, the sleeves are 4 inches too long, and she is wearing them rolled up. It's amazing that she actually likes it and still wears it even though it is 2 years old.

I'm so excited about photos being "back" that I'm going to go back to posts from the last few days and try and insert photos in all of them. Check out the rainbow on the goals post.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Chief's Birthday

What a trooper my little guy is! He turned 5 the day we drove home from Florida. He didn't get any cards, he didn't get any gifts, and not even a birthday cake, and did he complain? Not at all! We are doing his party a few days late so that we could get home and celebrate with family, including his Grandma who shares the same birthday. He did get his favorite breakfast on his birthday, waffles. And I didn't even have to make it! It was compliments of the hotel staff where we stayed.

I'm going to teach a friend how to crochet today! I'm so excited. She has patiently watched me crochet for a few months now, while our kids play. I have asked her if she wants to learn, and she said, "Yes!". So today, when we go to play, I have a few "starter" things all ready. I made a few rows of sc for her about 4" long and she can start making sc right away. I'll show her the more frustrating sc into chs later after she gets some confidence with the sc.
This is a photo of Chief, with his cousin, "Chip". Chief got this cool sled from his Aunt for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside

We were on our way home from Florida, driving the 14 hour drive from Orlando to Cincinnati, and we got to Tennessee. We got out of the van for lunch and BRRRR!! We left Orlando at around 77 degrees and it was like 25 in Tennessee. I knew by the time we reached Ohio, the temps would be in the teens. Oh yeah, Chickee forgot her winter coat. It was warm-ish in Ohio when we left for Orlando the day after Christmas, so she forgot her coat when she got into the car. Ok, back to Tennessee, we got out of the van in Tennessee to have lunch, and all Chickee had was a spring weight jacket. So, what would you expect a crochet mom to do? I made her a hat! I grabbed the swatching yarn in my stash bag and made her the most adorable hat (IMHO) in time for her to get out of the car at home. I'd show you, but I probably am going to try to sell it.

Of course, it was a record high of 65 here yesterday. One thing about Cincinnati weather, if you don't like it, wait until tomorrow!

Crochet is useful.

Here's some hats of a totally different nature, Derby Hats! (as in Kentucky Derby). This is me with my dear friend, Carrie in our Derby attire.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Crochet Sightings at Disney World

To say that Disney World was crowded the week after Christmas, would be an understatement. I'm guessing, though, that Disney World is crowded 365 days per year. I had planned to scan the crowd and take photos of people wearing crochet. I was disappointed that there weren't many. The 4-5 that I did see, I just couldn't whip my camera out fast enough to capture it in the sea of people.

I did see: at least 2 crocheted sun hats. One looked as if it was made of raffia (sp?) but more pliable. The other one, a little girl wore and it was white with a flower! I have a photo....If I could get it for you...

I saw a teen girl carrying a simple crocheted purse messenger style, it looked like it was made of crochet cotton in ecru with bright pink accents.
I had a crocheted bag with me, but I didn't carry it, because it's a "secret", and you never know who you'll run into in a crowd of several hundred thousand people at a major theme park.

The photo is uh, not Disney, it's Chickee's kindergarten play last March! She is the flower in light green a fifth over from the left.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

2008 GOALS!

Yep, I make 'em every year... not so much resolutions, as goals. I have been making goals since I first explored how to make money with crochet back in 2003. I made lists and lists of different things, sell at shows, do custom orders, do internet orders, publish patterns, with pros and cons for every angle. I finally decided that publishing patterns was the way to go for me. With a 3 yo and an infant (at the time) I knew that sitting at shows from dawn till dusk every weekend was not going to be practical.

Some early goals were "submit to two publishers" and "make business cards" and "keep an account of money".

Usually in July every year, I take a gander at the list of goals posted here, next to my computer, to assess how it's going. At the end of the year, I go through my goals "file" on the computer and comment on each goal. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I didn't. I make notes about what worked and what didn't. I don't beat myself up for unreached goals, sometimes it's not my fault. Sometimes I lose interest in a goal and decide it wasn't worth my time after all.

Sometimes, I surprise myself and achieve things I didn't even set out to do! I celebrate those things by adding them to the list of accomplishments even if it wasn't stated in a goal.

For 2008, some of my goals are:

1. Be in the Black (yep, it's easy to be in the red)

2. Make less gifts. yes, I said it. Last year, I made many gifts and I was delighted to share my stuff with my friends and family. They didn't ask for gifts (well, some did), I volunteered to make gifts, and I don't regret it. My bottom-line, however, suffered and so where 2007 was the year of the gift, 2008 will be the year of the ???? I don't know, something else... the year of learning perhaps?

3. Make a standard PDF format to use and make 3 good PDFs to sell on here or on my Etsy shop. (this will require some learning).

4. GO To CGOA!!!! (though, there are other people to consider when trying to achieve this goal....)
if I go to CGOA.... my goals are to:
wear at least one garment of my own design
submit something to the fashion show, even if it's a "throw" that I wrap up in
carry one new tote of my own design each day

5. Get/Learn one design software (though I'm not sure that this is really necessary)

6. Submit 1 article to the Chain Link Newsletter

I have other goals too about trying to sell to specific places, or sell specific designs, or propose books and leaflets of various types, I won't bore you with the details, but you get the idea.

Personal goals? Well, I'm a real wild and crazy gal, so my personal goals are things like:

be more patient with the kids

I have one child who never asks for hugs, so I will hug that child more.

I will not buy any item clothing (no matter how cheap) if it does not flatter me.

I will review books before buying them.

What are your goals?

Sorry, you don't get a photo today, still waiting on the computer to get resurrected. I had a really great one of a rainbow over our house, but the file is too big and I don't think I have the ability on this computer to shrink it. Oh, well, another time.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sneak Peek

I'm running out of time today, here's a Sneak Peek! I think 2008 goals will be tomorrow.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Quote for the day

I'm Back....sorta. We've been on vacation! Yay! And I can't wait to tell you all about it...but, the computer crashed and it's a long story, but I won't have access to all my photos, especially new vacation photos, for a few days, so hang in there!

Happy New Year! I'm very much looking forward to new goals and new opportunities in 2008!

"If you’re going to create, create a lot. Creativity is not like playing the slot machines, where failure to win means you go home broke. With creativity, if you don’t win, you’re usually no worse off than if you hadn’t played. "

-Scott Adams

This photo is of a very creative, persistent cat. Apparently he wanted to sit with me pretty badly, so badly that when I knelt down to look at something I had on the ottoman, the cat got on the back of my calves and sat down. I had to be creative and twist like a yoga practitioner to take this photo.

Goofy cat.