Monday, June 30, 2008

"Wow! Fantastic" says Chief

When I showed him my amazing piece of knitting. Now, if you are not a fiber fanatic, you may not look at this amazing piece of knitting and think it's so amazing. But, if you are a crocheter or a knitter you can look at this amazing piece of learning and see if for it's real worth!
I started with 3 stitches at one corner, I practiced all the increase types that are shown on including the elusive 'yarn over' then I practiced most of the techniques for decreasing AND I didn't drop one stitch! (Try not to notice the accidental purl row in there where I forgot to pay attention, then I didn't know how to fix it.)

Still, I learned so much in this one evening exercise. Maybe I'll hang it on the fridge gallery! Ok, maybe it will have to go on the 'overflow' gallery AKA the washing machine.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Neph dog

Here's a dog photo for all you dog lovers out there. This is the Nephew-Dog, Corduroy.

Today I am in working on an afghan for publication in fall? winter? I can't remember which issue it is scheduled for. Should I give you a hint? I'm not ready to give you a sneak peek.... hmm, what would be a good hint? It's the color of one of my favorite summer fruits. It's not one of the top 3 fruits that would immediately come to mind.... Matter-of-fact my Sister in law had never tried one of these fruits until I had some packed in my lunch one day and offered her one.

Anyway, back to the afghan. It's a fun stitch pattern, is working up quick, and I am using an "M" hook.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Trouble getting started....

Take now, for instance, I should be starting a new design that is due very soon, and I just don't wanna. I mean, I want to, I always love to crochet, and I don't dread crocheting...but sometimes I would like to skip to the part where I know what I'm going to do and I can get cranking on it! So, I need to make a design. I have this yarn sitting here, calling my name and I keep saying...I'm coming, I'm coming.

Really, I guess I should take Chickee's example and just jump in (or in this case, be thrown in!), with joy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chickee and Charlie and a Cool Thing

Chickee is very excited because Charles the King has begun to grace her with his company more and more lately!

So the kids yesterday begged me to take them to the library. We usually go to the "Big" library on Thursdays, but they convinced me to take them to the "little" (closer) library yesterday instead. So, I had trouble finding a parking space and we finally get there and I am thrilled to see a display of knit and crochet books. The kids become thrilled when they find the assorted Barbie and Scooby Doo movies that they had been unable to find at the "Big" library. I'm thrilled because of the display. We go to check out and of course, I can't resist telling the librarian that I am happy to see the display. The usual 'oh do you knit/crochet' discussion ensues. She says, something like, "it would be great to do a crochet program here at the library". I reach to give her my card when another librarian approaches and she says, "I read your blog, I'm Anna from Ravelry" I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT, and then , get this, she says, "I made your Sunny Spread" and I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT!!! How cool is that? So, HI ANNA!!!!! you made my day. It only could have been better had she whipped the blanket out from under the counter and said "And here it is!". But actually, I have seen it on Ravelry.

Too cool.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

There's a new exciting collaboration a-foot! Straight From Today's Designers have put out a belt book! (With more books planned for the future!)

Find Crochet Belts From the Hip on Ravelry for $15.00 here Even non-Ravelry people (are there still any of you out there?) can follow the link and take a peek at this innovative new collaboration.

In the book, you'll find designs by: Doris Chan, Amie Hirtes, Robyn Chachula, Vashti Braha, Mary Jane Hall, Mary Beth Temple, Margaret Hubert, Amy O'Neill Houck, Pam Gillette, Kim Guzman, Marty Miller, Angela "Lavonne" Best, Tammy Hildebrand, and more, 19 belts in all.
Way cool.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Charlie and me

My cell phone, my cat, my yarn, what else do you need? Here I am learning a new (to me) Tunisian stitch pattern. Chickee took the photo. Charlie is not impressed. I don't have much to say today! Just plugging away. I wonder how many millions of crochet stitches I have made? Including following other people's patterns the first 10 years I crocheted, I know that I have crocheted nearly 125 afghans. That doesn't count garments, bowls, purses, etc. just afghans. I lost count at 75 and that was four years ago.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Goal Review time!

It's June! It's time to review my 2008 goals. How's it going? Am I achieving the goals I set for myself last December? What do I still need to do it get where I want to be? Yes, I write down my goals, and I visit them in June, then I'll visit them again in December and write new goals for the next year. The thing that is important about goals for me is that I am very concrete. I'll write a goal on things that I have control over. Like, "I want to submit 3 designs to company XYX" not "I want XYZ to accept 3 designs". I'll write "learn more about technique...." or "learn to write a PDF file".

The other important thing about my goals is that I don't kick myself if I don't achieve them. I literally will write on my goals sheet, "this goal is no longer important to me" or "I changed my mind, I don't want to pursue this anymore". It's all about being focused for me.

I also give myself credit for things that I did accomplish that maybe weren't on my list at all. I'll add it to my list retrospectively, "woohoo I got this technique accepted" or "I started a blog!".

I usually make goals for each year. But I have to admit, adding a few lifetime goals is tempting.... like having my own line of yarn.... hmmm? Wouldn't that be cool?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sneak peek

Or maybe Green is my favorite color? This is Blue Sky Alpaca's

sportweight yarn. Hmm, are you tired of the sneak peeks yet? I think this will be the last one for a few days.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sneak peek

Or maybe Pink is my new favorite color.... this is Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb 50/50 silk and wool. Couldn't you just eat it up?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

sneak peek

When in doubt, sneak it out! Baby blue again! It must be my 'blue' period (in honor of Picasso?), come to think of it. another of my favorite paintings is by Franz Marc and it has this awesome bright vibrant blue in it. Hmm, perhaps I need to consider the role of 'blue' in my life!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Poor guy, he didn't want to hold the giraffe, Chickee gave it to him after he fell asleep.

I am woefully unprepared for today's post. I have a HUGE (for me) deadline on Friday, so I am working feverishly to wrap up the final details.

Hmmm, what can I say about crochet? Well, after the beaded project that I am currently working on, I may never bead anything ever again. Yep. After pre-stringing ALL the beads on the skein of yarn, I get through 3 rows of the project and hit a flaw in the yarn. So I had do dump off all the beads, cut out the flaw in the yarn, but this time I got smart and only re-strung about 3 rows worth of beads. I'd rather have more ends to weave in than push those beads! I'm probably not making sense, it's ok, I'll explain another time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I've been tagged by Jennifer at Jaybird here goes!

What was I doing ten years ago?
10 years ago, I was feverishly getting ready for our wedding! I was probably tasting chocolate cake... trying on dresses, freaking out over details that I can't even remember now.... packing up my one bedroom apartment...

Five things on my non-work to do list today:
1 Go to the bank,
2 buy a birthday gift for our Niece,
3 find something for Chickee to do while Chief is at a playdate,
4 figure out what dinner is going to be,
5 check the refrigerator a dozen times to make sure its not broken (again) before the warranty expires in 2 weeks.

Snacks I enjoy (in no particular order): chocolate cake, chocolate milkshakes, salty potato chips with onion dip, nachos with cheese, that cream cheese spread with the dried beef and green onions, ya know the one I mean?

Things I would do if I was a billionaire:
Pay off the house, travel the world, self-publish books, take a cooking class, hire a maid, give away half, buy a windmill... hire an assistant to answer my phone and go to the post office...

Places I have lived: a few places in Ohio. (Exotic, huh?)

Jobs I have had: Counselor, Photographer, Hallmark clerk, secretary, mental health day center worker,

People I want to know more about: Hmmm, Deidre Eyles,

You're IT!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Popped up!

Look what 'popped up' on my Ravelry Original Designs page! Coats & Clark is calling it "Crochet Flower Field.

Here's another color scheme

Find the pattern for free here. On another note, I've been tagged! I'll probably do that tomorrow!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

TNNA part 6 coming home

Just ignore my shirt tail hanging out and look at the Editor of Crochet Today magazine, Brett Bara! Crochet Today has been a very successful new magazine and since Brett's been the editor since day 1, she's a big part of it's success. Brett makes my designs look great, and I am grateful. The Knit and Crochet Today PBS show was nominated for an Emmy after it's first season (congratulations Candi Jensen and team!). I know the show will be even stronger next year with Brett as the new host, and Robyn Chachula, Drew Emborsky, Maggie Pace, and Kristin Nicholas as the experts! I'm so glad I can watch the show in my area. It was nice to meet you Maggie! (I would have loved to meet you Kristin, I read your blog all the time! Love the sheep and kitten photos).

I have to say, though I didn't get a photo, I got to meet Candi Jensen! Which, was, without a doubt a highlight of my visit to TNNA.

So, I get home from TNNA to.... a TREASURE HUNT!!! I walk in the door and Chickee had left me a "clue" to go to the kitchen, and another "clue" to go to the freezer and I open the freezer... and there before me is ..... A CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE!!!! yum! She must have read my mind, I had just been talking to Vashti Braha earlier that afternoon about how I need to make a "milkshake cozy"! Too cute. Here's a photo of Vashti saying, "yes, Ellen! a Milkshake cozy is a great idea!" Uh, she didn't really say that, but it is Vashti, and she was talking to me! She's wearing a Doris Chan design. Hi Vashti!

Friday, June 13, 2008

TNNA part 5

More hanging out at TNNA. Here is Edie Eckman! An author, knitter and crocheter. I own and love her book "The Crochet Answer Book". See the "favorite books" on the right hand column of the blog page.

Marty Miller and Drew Emborsky! Marty's Spiderweb Cardigan published in Interweave Crochet, Spring 2007 is one of only 2 patterns that I have 'queued' on Ravelry. She also had an awesome twisty scarf on the cover of Interweave Crochet, Fall 2005, and I actually made that one! Drew's a riot! I found myself not just chuckling but ROTFLMAO (Dave, that means 'rolling on the floor laughing my a-- off!). Drew's new word for the tiny complimentary hanks of yarn from Punta yarns had me laughing. (or was I just slap happy by then?) By the way, Punta yarn reps were very kind to this crocheter, thank you! Marty and Drew will both be teaching at 2008 Chain Link in Manchester, NH, next month.

Maureen Basher, crochet designer. Maureen has done some work for Plymouth yarns.
So nice to share a student space in Robyn's class! I'll be keeping an eye out for your name!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

TNNA part 4: Hanging out

Whew, my first day of the floor over! It's time to SIT and put up my ripped and crying feet! Here I am with two time author, Doris Chan (with the awesome blue top) and designer extraordinaire, Vashti Braha. Check out their blogs. This is the top I changed into when I had enough of the oh-so bare orange halter top. This sweater is made of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky.
Here are Casey (aka the CodeMonkey) and Jess (aka frecklegirl) as if you didn't know.... from RAVELRY!!! Very cool. Mary Heather skirted out of the photo when the camera came their way! I think she was trying to be polite, but she absolutely is an important part of their team. notice that Casey has a "Bob" shirt on of some sort, but I didn't get close enough to read it for fear that they would call security on me! They were swarmed with people everywhere they went (see the swarm?)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TNNA Part 3 and Chief packs a lunch

So, what happens when a Mom goes off for a business weekend, and Dad stays home to watch a 5 year old? Dad takes said 5 year old and the 7 year old sister to the office. The Dad instructs the 5 year old and the 7 year old to "pack a lunch". Are you seeing a problem yet? Notice I said that Dad instructs the 5 year old to pack his own lunch.... Chief packed 4 items. Apparently Dad did not check Chief's work. Can you guess what a 5 year old would pack in his lunch if left unsupervised to pack his own lunch? guess! All you moms out there can probably guess.... say it with me... "Cheetos, Cookies, a fruit cup, and marshmallows". Oh well, at least the Mom wasn't home to manage the sugar buzz that inevitably ensued!
Guess who I ran into in Robyn Chachula's 'Beyond the Afghan' class? Why it's MARLY from the Yarn Thing podcast and Jill Wright, from! Jill also has a design in the summer issue of Interweave Crochet. You'll be seeing Marly Bird's name in upcoming issues of Interweave Crochet and KnitSimple.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TNNA Part 2

I arrived in Columbus, Ohio early Saturday morning, just in time for Robyn Chachula's class "Beyond the afghan". It was a great class and a good way to start the conference. Robyn talked about symbol diagrams and how to read them. These diagrams are the basis for her new book Blueprint Crochet, which you can link to on the right of the blog page. She covered points I was anxious to hear about making half motifs, and how to join them so that you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. Robyn and I actually live near each other, and she's so much fun. Hi Robyn!

Monday, June 9, 2008

TNNA part 1

My friends! I'm home from TNNA. The weekend was full of drama and intrigue. I will tell you all about it (well, almost all about it). But first, the kids (and the cat) need some quality time. I will tell you that in the coming days I will be dropping big names, BIG names, and I even have some photos of with these wonderful generous people! I stopped short of getting autographs.... uh, except for a few...

In the meantime, here's Charlie in his crocheted felted cat bed nearly falling off the windowsill! He cracks me up. As Doris Chan would say, he makes me "happy!" (yes, that's a casual name drop, because Doris and I are now like THIS!) Oh, you can't see me holding up my crossed fingers.... let's just say, that we are close enough that she borrowed one of my hooks!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer Blues Baby Dress Revealed!

Here it is! So long in the making! This infant (3, 6, 9 & 12 months) dress is in Interweave Crochet! A special thanks to Deidre at Crochet A la Carte
and Karen Blumberg for their tech editing! Also, thank you to Bendy Carter for discussing with me her experience with ease in the littlest sizes. See also, Lisa Naskrent's of Crochet Garden, Summer Daisy Baby Dress! Gorgeous.

Friday, June 6, 2008

TNNA pre-party

For many designers, publishers, and yarn companies who produce crochet, knit, cross-stitch, embroidery products, TNNA is the premiere event! well, events, there are 4. The shows are industry trade shows, so you have to be a professional member to attend. It is where all the yarn companies show their new yarns and try to sell them to retailers. The summer show is in Columbus, OH THIS WEEKEND!!!! WOOHOO! and I am going! I am very excited. This is my first one.

It will be so exciting to meet so many people that I have corresponded with via the Internet the past four years. I had all these wonderful plans of wearing several crocheted garment designs to the show, and alas, they are no longer available except for ONE. A heavy sweater to wear in Columbus OH in JUNE. The weather is expected to be in the 90s. I'll still wear it!

Today is about packing, printing business cards, making sure that I don't forget my cell phone charger, finding my hotel reservation papers, and reassuring the kids that I'll be home Sunday.

Here's a Sneak Peek for you. It's made out of the infamous SWTC A-maizing corn fiber
where it states very clearly, **Do NOT iron this yarn** heehee.
I probably won't be able to post tomorrow, but will be back Monday! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tornado Warnings and Crochet?

What in the world does Tornado warnings have to do with Crochet, you ask? Well let me share! The past two days, we have seemed to have an endless line of severe thunderstorms that have come through and endless news coverage and Tornado sirens blaring.

I so respect Tornadoes that when I was single living in my tiny 1 bedroom apartment with bunk beds for a couch and a folding card table for a dining table, I was the only one in the building who would regularly camp out in the basement laundry room (with my crochet) while the rest of the residents were hanging out elsewhere!

Yesterday it began... the weather looks bad, so I get out my catch all laundry basket and put it by the basement door. I begin, surreptitiously, to place items in the basket as I go about watching the news, letting the kids play the computer, read books or whatever they were doing... a flashlight, my car keys and purse, my cell phone, a pair of shoes for each of us, my hooks, my current project, my camera...

Now, keep in mind, we already have an "emergency" kit packed in the basement with bottled water, canned goods, can opener, candles, cat food (for the CAT silly, not for us!), etc...

Knowing this, I start thinking about crochet... projects, written instructions, back up disks... I have several completed items ready for shipping and the thought of having to re-stitch them.... made me go grab some of the super XL Ziploc bags, and secure the projects in their water-tight cocoons. I hope that if a tornado hits (of course that the family will be safe) but that if my crochet projects get ejected from the house and tossed over the cliff, that they will be safely ensconced in these water-tight Ziploc bags and the last three months of work will not be in vain! I can envision myself rappelling down the cliff and finding fiber treasures perfectly preserved in their plastic armor.

Yes, I know, everything crochet can be re-stitched, and it makes me glad that I have a practice of backing up my work.

Anyway, we got lucky on the tornado front. Here's a tornado of a different sort.... the kids cooped up for two rainy days....

I assure you, both were willing participants in this chaos, and no stuffed animals were harmed in this riot.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Me and Chickee

Me and Chickee! You can see a little corner of LaVonne Best's "Short and Sweet". She has some really beautiful things! I especially love everything on pages 5 and 6 of her pattern sale pages. The bolero I have on was in the Debbie Stoller "Stitch and Bitch Crochet" book. The all-over lace pattern can be intimidating if you let it. But, I tell you, follow the pattern to the letter and Lavonne will get you through. I followed this pattern with NO frogging. None. Awesome. I need to get you a better photo.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Connect The Dots Throw Revealed!

Well, finally, the one that required all the stitch markers, remember? It's in the July/August issue of Crochet Today. Along with some other great designs by Robyn Chachula, Brett Bara, Doris Chan, Drew Emborsky, Kim Kotary, just to name a few!

If you look at the photo, let's say four big circles up from the bottom and three big circles over from the left. I made a mistake on that one and I didn't find it until I thought it was too late. Thank goodness for stitch markers, because I managed to frong that baby right out of the middle, fix it, and put it back in again! What luck!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Crochet Giraffes

My Mom used to collect giraffes. Since she died several years ago, my Step-Father has taken over the collection and kept it going. There are so many giraffes, that I never noticed these 2 crochet giraffes until recently! Really, we're talking multiple thousands of giraffes in several large curio cases. Plus all the ones that are too big for the cases or that are too small and are in shadow box frames. Anyway, here's the two crochet giraffes that I found. I photographed them through the case because I was afraid to open the doors for fear that they would all tumble out at me like a savanna stampede. There's probably more crochet giraffes in there, maybe I'll "spot" them on the next visit.