Saturday, May 31, 2008

Doris Chan's new blog

LOVE IT. All you fans of Doris Chan, listen up! She has a new blog, full of funny, charming stories and clever turns of phrase with great photos of her work. The two time author of "Amazing Crochet Lace" and "Everyday Crochet" has a signature style. You can look at a piece and say, "That's a Doris Chan design!"

Awesome. Welcome to the blog world Doris! And, in honor of Doris, here is a photo of me wearing one of Doris' designs. It is the "Mesa jacket" that was on the cover of Crochet! a year or so ago. The cover model was in blues.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Book Hooked on Murder

yes, I admit it, I am behind the times! So many of you are already reading "Hooked on Murder" by Betty Hechtman. It's the first in a new series of crochet-related mysteries! What fun! There is a group on Ravelry to discuss the book, but since I'm only like 4 chapters in, I'm afraid to go there for fear of stumbling upon the book's secrets! Fun fun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Adding Beads

Hi All, this is how I get beads onto my yarn. I bought the "flexible beading needles" that come in a multi-pack at Hobby Lobby in the jewelry making area. The beading needle is a long (4.5"??) silver wire with a circle 'eye/loop' at the end. That circle end is where the yarn goes. You have to get the yarn through that eye. I had to use my tapestry needle, thread the needle with my yarn, take my tapestry needle and pull that through the eye on the end of the beading needle. Let the tapestry needle free, leave the yarn in the beading needle. Thread the beading needle through the eye of the beads and push it down onto the yarn. The eye/loop of the beading needle might bend, that's ok. Shown is Caron yarn in SPA with 6/0 size seed beads.

You can also use a "Big Eye Needle" but I couldn't find mine! I'll have to get some more and show it to you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crochet Audit

This past week was Chickee's birthday. 7! Wow. She requested chocolate chip cheesecake for her birthday dessert. Generally this recipe makes so much filling that it makes a 3" tall cheesecake in a springform pan. This time, we opted to split the filling into two store-bought chocolate graham cracker crusts. We made one cheesecake chocolate chip and the front one is chocolate chocolate-chip. Yum. I'm afraid her cousins didn't care for it though, so they got ice cream.

Yesterday was my "Audit" day. I didn't crochet at all, but spent the day going through my latest items that need to be done/shipped soon. Which one still needs to be tagged? Which one needs another revision on the instructions? Which one needs ends woven in? I started a chart to keep it all straight and so I can see at a glance what's left to do.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Red flower

Oh My gosh, what a busy weekend! Whew! We are all so tired. Party, party, party. a birthday, a graduation, a parade, cake, cake, brats and hamburgers, BBQ and chili. I'm very glad to get back into our routine for a few days before our routine totally changes with Chickee's last day of school on Thursday.

I did get some crocheting done (I have no idea how) and I hope to get you some sneak peeks later this week.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

baby gift

Chickee desperately wanted me to make something for her teacher's new baby. So this week, among my other deadlines, I managed to squeeze in this easy raglan pull-over made of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. It's in pale green and yellow.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Joan Avasconcelos

Here's some interesting crochet sculpture! It is fun to see artists who use crochet. See her work here, choose "work" and it will give you her work organized by year.

Also, here's an update on our "cliff". The County came and "repaired it". The photos don't do it justice. It's probably a good 60 foot drop pretty much straight down.
I just wish they had planted some trees with deep root systems for prevention in addition to remediation.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

remind me about this quote when I appear on What not to Crochet

...And I'm sure one day, I will be on What not to crochet. Did you know that is an actual website where they offer their opinions about crochet? Anyway, there will always be different tastes and critics, that's ok. I like what David Brinkley has to say:

David Brinkley:
A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.

Now for a photo:

Here's another Blast from the Past! A 2006 design that was purchased, but I don't believe it was ever seen (any of you other designers out there have the same wacky history of selling stuff that never appeared...ever? let me know....) This one probably will never be published because the green has been discontinued.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I crochet so SLOW!!!

Sometimes it feels like I crochet so....s l o wwww....... Or maybe it's just the project? Sometimes I whip right through a project and other ones seem to take forever.... I always think of my pal Karen Blumberg who is the fastest crocheter in our guild. I know she can whip out sweaters in a weekend. I can get projects done quickly only because I have to neglect everything else! I can make a whole afghan in a week/10 days if I have to, but the kids will be eating Spaghetti-O's and the DH will have to find his own lunch.

It's an exciting crochet time my friends! There is much on the horizon though it feels like nothing is being revealed right now, it's coming. It seems like all the magazines come out at the same time. I just received my issue of Crochet! yesterday, and it makes me want to start submitting to it again. I haven't submitted in quite a while because I've just been busy with other directions. Also, every design I make, I really do try and think of which magazine/buyer would be most likely to fit with the design in style/complexity/yarn etc.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sneak Peek

An itty bitty sneak peek. It's not showing well, but it's a lime-ish green with the teal blue. Use your imagination, maybe it will inspire a design for you that will be radically different from this actual item.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek for you!

I have learned something about myself lately, I underestimate the amount of yarn I will need too often for fear of asking for "too much". To rectify this situation, I have begun to ask yarn companies to send just a little "more", then if I have extra, I would be willing to return the surplus or.... offer the "extra" as a prize on my blog. That way it still helps promote the yarn, I get what I need, and you have a chance to win! WooHoo! I'm stock-piling some yummy leftovers as we speak! Unfortunately it might even be a few months before I can be sure that the extras won't be needed, but there are several that I am 100% positive that they will be available to GIVE!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Day in the Life....

Robyn, over at Crochet By Faye did her "Day in the Life" on May 3, and I thought it was a good idea and would make an easy post some day, so here's mine!

6:00 DH leaves and I go back to sleep. Thank you God for one more hour.

7:10 My clock radio wakes me up and it seems like the radio station is always playing Billy Idol's "Mony Mony" which I hate. I vow to change the station, and then I forget. I attempt to get up quietly, turning on as few lights as possible, not evening flushing the potty for fear it might wake the kids prematurely spoiling my cherished 20 minutes of quiet. I check my e-mail and attend to any e-mails that need immediate attention.

7:30 Wake the kids. Dear God, please let them get up easy today. Hustle, hustle, dress, breakfast, brush hair, brush teeth, did I remember Chickee's lunch and her 10:00 snack? Was it my turn to bring Chief's class a snack? Is today a payment day? Did I brush MY teeth?

8:30 Out to the driveway to wait for Chickee's bus. Say a few quick prayers since I have a captive audience. Wave goodbye to the bus even though I'm sure Chickee's not watching. Maybe somebody's child is watching me wave goodbye. Get Chief into the car and take him to pre-school.

9:00 Goodbyes and hugs at pre-school. Off to Jazzercise! Whew, everybody got everywhere on time. Dance, dance, joke, laugh...

10:30 An hour of free time to run to the bank, run to the grocery, grab a do-nut, check my e-mail at the library, make a few phone calls, or sit in the car and crochet while I wait for Chief to get out of school.

11:30 "MOM!" Chief runs out of preschool, we head home. If I need to go to the post office I need to do it now and quick before they close for lunch at 12:00. (There's no post office near Chief's preschool, otherwise I could do it during my free hour).

12:00 Lunch. Try to persuade Chief to eat ANYTHING other than pizza, or a "pizza sandwich" or "pizza chicken"... check e-mail.

12:30 Finally, I get a shower. Chief plays the computer.

1:00 I finally get to start crocheting. Stop crocheting to read Chief a Scooby-Doo book, get back to crocheting, but stop to get Chief his 2:00 snack. Get back to crocheting while we watch tv or Chief does puzzles. Stop to do laundry, answer the phone, do the dishes, clean up a spill...

Sometimes Chief has his cousin over and they are off playing.

4:30 Chickee gets home from school. We do homework, she gets a snack. The kids start to figure out if they are going outside to play. Chickee starts asking 'what's for dinner'? and then whining 'I hate (insert dinner item here)' and follows with 'why can't I have Spaghetti-O's?' The Grumpy Zombies invade my kids' bodies and they are inconsolable about.... a bumped knee, so-and-so's not sharing!, it's my turn, 'Mom, s/he called me a name' 'why can't we have Skyline for dinner?'

*("Mom?", "What?"), "Mom, I was talking first;" repeat from * 24 times; 48 "Mom?"

5:00-6:30 Crochet in between thinking about dinner, doing more laundry, "oh, my this house is a mess" straightening up, unload the dishwasher, check e-mail, check Ravelry...

6:30-7:30 Captain gets home, they play outside while I do...Dinner prep. Call 'em in to eat, dinner dishes, pack lunches for tomorrow...

8:00 Beg the kids to get ready for bed, take a bath, read a book, look at I can has cheeseburger on line while the kids roar with laughter.

9:00 Whew! The best part of the day! THANK You to GOD We are all home, safe, healthy, etc. Crochet, watch tv, read, until 11:00.

Now that I look at it, it's a wonder I am as productive as I am!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nashua Cilantro

Another Great yarn! This Nashua Cilantro yarn is STRETCHY!!!! I've been looking at it for weeks trying to decide what it wants to be. The put up is: 70% cotton, 30% polyester; 50g 1.75 oz, 136 yards. It's a size 4 cyca size. Speak to me, yarn, what do you want to be?
Are you following the "Day in the Life" Posts? They are alot of fun, if you need to get caught up, here's the list again:
Monday, May 12th --- Amie, owner of NexStitch, Art Teacher, and Crochet Designer
Tuesday, May 13th--- Mary Beth, Author of the Secret Language of Knitters, Host of Getting Loopy, Bunny Parent, Mom, and Crochet Designer
Wednesday, May 14th--- Margaret, Fiber Design Veteran, Author of scores of fiber books, Grandmother, and Crochet Designer
Thursday, May 15th--- Amy, Tech editor, Author of Knits for Bears to Wear, Mom, Moving to remote Alaska, and Crochet Designer
Friday, May 16th--- Vashti, CGOA board Member, Mom, and Crochet Designer
Saturday, May 17th--- Ellen, Mom, Afghan Maven, and Crochet Designer *** uh, that's me***

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A CLEAN iron!

Do you remember my "Blocking" Fiasco? No? Here's the link

Here's the resulting iron. And then I was able to get the corn fibers off. I'm not sure if I'm ready to touch this iron on fabric again, but it's definitely good enough to "hover" it over items for steam blocking. I let the iron cool completely, unplugged it, and scraped the corn fibers off the iron with a nylon Pampered chef square, you know the little scrape-y thing they give you when you buy a baking stone? Anyway, that's what I used, then I wiped it off with vinegar/water on a soft washcloth.
To answer Haley's question from yesterday's post... The yarn is either Red Heart SuperSaver or TLC Essentials (or both, I don't think the light gray comes in the Essentials) So, more than likely, the Gray is Red Heart Super Saver and the White and Black are TLC Essentials. I have an e-mail in to the buyer of this project requesting that I learn the fate of it and if it is still going to be used, or if it is off in forgotten storage land. Maybe they just forgot about it and needed a reminder? Or maybe they did place it somewhere and I never saw it? Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Last Sneak Peek from 2006

Ok, here's the last one, well, the second to last one, but I'm not ready to show the last one just yet.... This is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lint Free Crochet

I work pretty hard to keep my crochet lint/hair free. Despite this photo, I try NEVER to put yarn on carpet or on the couch or other soft surface. I try to keep the yarn always in plastic bags, even while I'm using it. When I set the project down, I try to set it on a table or back in a plastic bag instead of on the couch. If I set the item down on a table, I try to set my papers/instructions on top of the item so that 1. the cat won't sit on it, and 2. to protect it from lint/dust.
I am grateful (again) that I'm not a smoker. I know that editors don't want a stack of smoke-filled swatches in their offices/on their desks.
If I do manage to crochet a hair into my work, I pull it out immediately and gently. If it won't pull out, I take out the stitches until I can pull it out. I pick off stray cat hairs, and if the fabric is sturdy enough, I take a lint brush or roller to it when I'm done. I will often keep a clean pillowcase on my lap and put the crochet project on top of it, because, guaranteed, the cat has managed to sit on my lap at some point. If the cat has been giving me "hugs", I'll go change my shirt before going back to crochet.
If I am assembling something that has to be laid out, I make sure and close that door to the room it's in so the cat can't get in. Also, I'll lay down a clean flat sheet first, then put my squares down, then if I have to stop, I can fold the whole thing over like a Calzone to keep it clean and in place. If I'm worried about losing the placement of the squares, I'll take a digital photo of it first, so that I have a guide to help me re-position all the elements when I return.
Probably the best thing to do is to never let the yarn ball/skein ever touch the carpet or couch. I also don't pull too much from the skein as I work. I don't want it to "puddle" on the floor while I use it. If I have to frog a bunch, I pull the yarn off the project, letting it "puddle" or pile loosely in a plastic bag, so that again, it is not touching soft surfaces.
PS, don't ever leave a pet unattended near plastic bags. I have had friends who have lost their pets this way. Rest assured, I shoo-ed Charlie out of this bag as soon as I took his picture.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rowan 4ply Cotton

You may have seen this yarn in the last issue of Interweave Crochet, Kathy Merrick made the "Kathryn in Beauly Dress and Hat" with several gorgeous colors of this yarn. It is 100% cotton, 50 g 186yds, and it is considered a "fingering weight". These are some swatches with an "E" hook (4/3.5mm). But it is NOT a sneak peek, because I haven't made any decisions yet.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to post more about what I do to keep yarn and projects clean (and lint/hair) free.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sneak Peek

It's time for a sneak peek! Here's one of unknown destination. It's sold, but I have no idea where it can be found, it is already published, or will be? Who knows? If you find it, let me know!

Friday, May 9, 2008

No Cat Fur Allowed!

I make a concerted effort to keep cat fur off my projects. This is really hard when Mr. Cat insists on sitting on my lap almost 100% of the time. This is how we compromise. I cover him with a cloth or pillowcase and then I crochet on top. It's almost like having a "pillow" that props up my work a little. Yes, this is the SWTC Amaizing Sneak Peek. Remember how I burnt the corn the other day? Yep, this is the same project. I will likely still have to run over this project with the lint roller too. Maybe I'd better try the lint roller on a swatch first.... lol.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sneak Peek

This is kinda cathartic, I think I'll keep going....another sneak peek from 2006...

Here's the Schedule of "A Day in the Life" posts. I lifted this directly from Robyn at Crochet by Faye, without her knowledge or permission, but since she started this whole thing and I'm giving her credit (and she stated it so well), here it is. Any errors are my fault;

Here's the schedule*:

Monday, May 12th --- Amie, owner of NexStitch, Art Teacher, and Crochet Designer

Tuesday, May 13th--- Mary Beth, Author of the Secret Language of Knitters, Host of Getting Loopy, Bunny Parent, Mom, and Crochet Designer

Wednesday, May 14th--- Margaret, Fiber Design Veteran, Author of scores of fiber books, Grandmother, and Crochet Designer

Thursday, May 15th--- Amy, Tech editor, Author of Knits for Bears to Wear, Mom, Moving to remote Alaska, and Crochet Designer

Friday, May 16th--- Vashti, CGOA board Member, Mom, and Crochet Designer

Saturday, May 17th--- Ellen, Mom, Afghan Maven, and Crochet Designer *** uh, that's me***

*And add, "and so much more" to the end of each of these great ladies' names. Exciting right? I know!
Can't wait for next week? Then mosey over to Kim Werker's Blog. Kim posted on 5/5/8 her day in the life.

What fun! Thanks Robyn for starting this whole adventure.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Chickee's Jeans

Chickee puts on her favorite jeans but says that there is a hole where the pocket attaches. So she asks me to make a patch. I whip up this flower in some scrap Patons Classic Merino Wool and I safety pin it to her jeans and off she runs onto the bus! She gets home declaring that she lost it. I wonder how that happened?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Don't try to kill this yarn!

To "kill" a yarn, means to break it's fibers, "locking" them in place with a hot clothes iron. (more or less). There really aren't too many times when you actually would want to "kill" a crochet project. Usually, when blocking, you hold a hot steam iron OVER the item WITHOUT touching it. If you were to touch it with the iron, you might "kill" it.

So, I'm blocking a swatch of SWTC's Amaizing 100% Corn Fiber. Now, I don't know what to do to block corn fiber, so I figure, I'll try it! First, the yarn is really lovely. The HOVERING is going well, so I figure, It's corn, so is that closest to "cotton" on the iron or is it closer to "linen"?

I've swatched a "square-ish" shape, so I tap the iron down and one of the corners is still peeking out from the iron, I lift the iron and ITS STUCK!!!! AAAAHHHHH!!!!! I grab the available corner (and thank God that I didn't cover the whole motif, note to self, never cover the whole motif when experimenting...) Anyway, I killed it. It's dead. Fibers immediately ripped from the swatch and stuck onto the iron. Matter of fact, here's the iron. It's kind of like a "sneak peek" isn't it? Can you see the motif on the iron?

Now, look at these two photos. The first one shows the surface of the 'alive, un-killed' swatch and the second is the 'killed' swatch. Can you see the damage. Wow, I wonder if I can get this stuff off my iron, or I'll have to go out and get a new one. (ugh, anyone know how to get corn off an iron?)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Setting the Stage

This is how I photograph 3D crochet. I have a white muslin cloth that I drape up against something. I sit it in the corner of our living room where two walls of windows meet, letting in lots of natural light without having to fight the wind. (We get lots of wind, I'll have to write about that one day, how I have to go climbing down the cliff every week to go find our trashcans because they have blown over the guard rail... but I digress...) Oh, yes, I also "bracket" my photos the old fashioned way, and it's now so easy with digital cameras! Back in the 'black and white days' as my kids like to say, I was a photography major in college (double major with psychology). We used old traditional film cameras and we would "bracket" which means we would take the same shot with a couple of different settings, make a note of it, and see which one turned out best. I still do this with the digital camera, but I just take the photos with and without the flash, maybe on the Macro (super close up) setting and maybe without. I don't bother to make a note of it, When I see all the photos on the computer screen, I can see instantly which one is best, then I delete the rest! Very cool. It makes me feel very ancient to remember my Senior photography thesis in.... darkroom techniques.... The computer is not nearly as romantic as standing in a red-lighted darkroom watching the image magically appear on paper where it wasn't before.

To change the subject... Robyn Chachula, over at Crochet By Faye did a blog post on Saturday about the a typical day in her designing life. She has prompted several other designers to write about their typical designing days. I will be posting a 'Day in the Life' on May 17, here on my blog. Several other designers will be doing the same on different days on their blogs. Anyway, I'll let you know who, where and when designers will be doing these special posts. It should be fun and give you all a Sneak Peek into the lives of the designers you follow.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Charlie finds wool

Given any number of crocheted projects around the house, guaranteed, Charlie will find the one made of wool. He loves it. I wish you could hear this cat Meow, he is loud and persistent, especially at dinnertime, and when he wants a T-R-E-A-T. Matter-of-fact, anything that rhymes with T-R-E-A-T cause much meowing. Eat, Street, Meet, Sweet.... all causes Charlie to go into a fit of meowing. Sometimes, he even figures it out when I spell it.

To get this back to crochet, I have made Charlie a crocheted dinner bowl mat. It is a big Hexagon that is under his dish. He also sleeps in a crocheted, felted, cat bed. He also has his own "blankie" for the car ride to the vet.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Great Friends

I have such good friends! My gal pals at Jazzercise are such good friends. These are lilacs from Missy's yard (Hi Missy!) and she brought them for me and another friend because she thought we would like them. How cool is that? My other friend, Shelley (Hi Shelley!) often breaks me and Missy off a slab of whatever goodie she baked, pound cake, carrot cake, yum. What fun. Both of them are recipients of the Year of the Crocheted Birthday Gifts, 2007.

I had an interesting experience last night. I went to a business event for my DH and the company he works for. Clients and former employees were all invited 500? people. Anyway, It's that general 'cocktail' party atmosphere where everyone networks, and you chat for a few minutes then someone moves on. I'm fairly social, so it's ok, I can talk to just about anybody. But it's interesting the questions I get, "How are the kids" is usually the first, then maybe, "what's new with you?". And I always have to assess, are they asking because they are interested and want to KNOW, or are they asking because they are bored while their companion is busy talking with my husband? So then, I have to decide, do I want to mention crochet or not? Am I going to reveal my dirty little secret, risk ridicule, and risk being patronized with my little 'hobby'. Then, if I mention crochet, do I brag? How do I show people that for me crochet is a profession and it's business (and fun), without bragging. And will they think it is interesting or will they think it is amusing?

My usual line is, "I design crochet patterns for yarn companies and magazines". Of course, I had on a crocheted backpack (too convenient to wear a backpack to these things, leaves your hands free for shaking and sipping).

I don't really have a point, I just think it's interesting that I sometimes feel shy about sharing my love for crochet because of the fear of being found 'amusing'. Sometimes I get great responses, like, "I Crochet too!" (That makes me really happy), and of course, the typical, "my mother, aunt, grandmother crocheted". Still, I guess I'd rather speak up and risk it, than stand meekly and let them think that I don't have any interests beyond what project my DH is currently working on!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Here's the new Red Heart Zoomy, it's not even on the Coats & Clark website yet. I like it. It's 3.5 oz, 83 yds of 70% acrylic, 20% wool, and 10% nylon. This color is Lt. Ocean. And... This is also a SNEAK PEEK!