Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mission Falls Yarns

Some Mission Falls yarn just arrived for me to whip up a project, and I love it! It is really, really nice. I am using both the 1824 wool and the dk weight of the same yarn, that I can't find on their website. It's a superwash wool and it's very soft. I guess Charlie likes it too! Pay attention to these yarns, they will appear together in the Winter. (hint, hint)
Oh yeah! Don't forget to vote in the "photo poll" at right.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sneak peek

I wonder if you will ever guess what this is? It's not sold, so I have no idea when and if it will be revealed, but it's just so funny. Check out my photos poll on the right column.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What I do with Sold Models

Some buyers keep the finished model, and some give it back. It is getting more and more common that the buyer gets to keep the item. (It states in the contract what it's going to be). In some ways, I'd rather have the item back, especially when it's something I would like to use like a bag or a hat. Other times, I'm ok with the buyer keeping it because, let's face it, who has room for all those afghans! If the buyer is going to keep the finished item, I keep the swatch (more on keeping swatches another day). I have several models that were returned to me after the book/magazine has been published. What do I do with all those models? If it is a purse, I use it! If it is an afghan, I have some choices.... use it, give it, donate it, sell it. Some designers sell their models on Etsy or in fairs. The actual project can be sold as long as you don't sell the pattern, which more than likely, now belongs to the publisher. However, it wouldn't be kind to the publisher to 'mass produce' the item to sell. You want the book/issue your item appears in to sell well for the publisher. Many times I donate an item or two to our Church Festival Silent auction. Many of my "sold" models are in my closet, still wrapped up because I can't decide what to do with them!

The photo is Chief, who at a local Church festival, spent all his "game tickets" on face painting. He also had a spider painted on the other side of his face. He was very happy with his decision.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Un-sold designs, part 2

On Friday, Norah left a comment that I could sell un-sold designs on Ravelry or directly to crocheters! She's right! It just goes to show that sometimes I get tunnel vision and don't see all the obvious possibilities. Many times if a design goes un-sold, I give up on it. In reality, some buyers will allow you to submit the same design again later (a few months, the next year) because maybe the design will be more appropriate later. I have had one instance (just one) where an item was rejected but when the buyer began a new project, she e-mailed me and specifically asked for the item she had rejected several months previous. She said that it wasn't right for the earlier project, but would be perfect for her current project. (That was a shocker!). Sometimes it takes up to 3 years after a project is "born" before it is adopted into the right home. I probably said this months ago, but it bears repeating, that sometimes a project is rejected several times by several different buyers before one of them finds the perfect fit for it. One such project has gone on to be one of my three most "favorited" patterns on Ravelry. Ah, sweet vindication!

The photo is Chickee and Chief at the Ohio River on the 4th of July. We see the river everyday but rarely get down to it!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Things that don't sell....

What do I do with things that don't sell? It does happen! Well, the first thing I do is put it in a box and forget about it! But really, I keep the idea, the notes, the stitch pattern in tact. Because there is a possibility that I could re-make it later, when a fresh approach hits me. Or, I could recycle the stitch pattern. I keep it for a laugh later.... I think about why it didn't sell. Was it just a poor design? Is it outdated already? Has it missed the window for trendiness? Could it be improved? Has the yarn been discontinued? Do I like the concept well enough to re-tool it, or am I sick of it and wish I had never wasted the time? Really though, if something doesn't sell, I can usually find an element from it to help me with another design later.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Burgundy knit hat

This is from a knit pattern by Meg White. This is my first knit project on circular needles. This is my second cable project. It's coming along ok, considering I really have no idea what I'm doing and I'm guessing at what the abbreviations mean! I'm using Patons Classic Wool for the yarn. It is probably my favorite felting wool, so I had a good amount of it in my stash bin. Since this photo, I have made a few critical errors and so I will have to start over with more experience this time! If you are on Ravelry, you can find this hat under "Magenta cabled Hat" by Meg White, it's a free download.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How much do I crochet?

Asks Haley in a previous comment! Hi, Haley! Thanks for the question. I crochet every spare minute I can. I crochet in bed. I crochet at soccer practice. I crochet at the pool (if it's not too humid and I'm using a washable fiber). I'm guessing, I probably crochet between 2-4 hours per day, less some days, more on others. I fit in crochet in between playing with the kids. I do computer work while they are eating breakfast and lunch. I probably crochet more, but since I crochet in short spurts multiple times per day interrupted by life, I really can only guess.

The photo is Chickee in her school program from April. She is wearing a black dress, red crocheted hat and crocheted scarf. She is one of my biggest fans and I'm so grateful.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pattern Writing

Probably most crochet designers would agree, that writing the pattern is the most tedious part of being a crochet designer. This is how I do it. If I have a plan before I start, I'll make a goals list including the projected size, color ideas, function of the item (if it's going to be a bag, what do I want it to hold?). If I have no plan in mind, then I just design/play with yarn until an idea develops. I take handwritten notes (I put the date on it, don't forget to write what hook of which brand you are using). When I get the stitches down, I'll make a few more swatches in different colors. Sometimes I'll note the colors in my notes. When I have determined that it will turn into a design to market, I give it an invoice/code number and add it to my list of projects. I get the design a file folder, give it a working title. I type my handwritten notes into the computer and print it out. I make a guess who I might try to sell it to first and put it in that buyers format. I make the item from my typed notes, making corrections as I go. I have to be careful to follow the instructions as if I've never seen them before, because by this stage, I'll usually have memorized the process. When I'm done with the project, I go back and check the math line for line. I check the format that I am writing in. Most of the time, I check the format with recent magazines in hand. I'll find something similar to what I'm writing (rows, rounds, motifs) and see how the tech editors handled things and try to make my instructions agree. I look for how items are spaced, capitalized, abbreviated, etc. (All buyers have slightly different formats for how they want things done). I take lots of photos including super close-ups so that I can understand tricky parts a year from now. If there is a particularly difficult area, I'll include process photos in the instructions. I do this sparingly, though, because adding a photo for illustration is no excuse for not explaining the process in words. You can't just put in a photo and say, "I don't know how to describe this" and then leave it blank. I print out a final copy and put it in my file folder (in case the computer crashes, at least I have a hard copy.)

At this point, I'll submit the pattern to a potential buyer. Whenever possible, I hire another person to tech review the pattern by either making a certain number of motifs, working a few rows, making the whole item, it all depends on how repetitive it is. Then I look at the tech editors suggestions and incorporate them. If the item is already sold, I submit the pattern to the buyer. At this point, the buyer's tech editor may e-mail me if she has questions. Or, even better, the buyer might send me a PDF of the pattern in their format how it will appear in the magazine, and offer me a chance to review it again! (This opportunity is rare, but it is very useful and makes us all look better in the long run).

Finally 6-12 months later the item appears somewhere and you can compare your final instructions to how their tech editor finalized it for publications. This is a great opportunity for learning. Did the tech editor change it not at all, a little, or did she re-write the whole thing? Is her way better? Why is it better and what can you do different next time?

I put all the paperwork, copy of the contract and/or invoice in the file folder. Copy of the contract with the tech editor I hired (if I hired one), a spare yarn label if I have one, and all other details in the file folder. The file folder either goes in my "sold" file drawer, or in the "holding" file drawer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stitch n' Pitch

Did you make it to your local MLB Stitch n' Pitch event? Ours was this past weekend, but I didn't make it, because I was busy watching this guy play in the Championship of I don't even know what, regional? city? Anyway. I'm not a huge baseball fan, really. I figure it's kind of like gambling, boring, boring, boring, WOOO!!!, boring, boring, boring, WOOOO!! This is our nephew hitting a Triple (and an RBI) in the big game. That was a big WOOO!! for us. Watching a game when you know the players and have an interest in the outcome changes everything. i really enjoyed it. (somewhat surprisingly). Unfortunately, they came in 2nd place. Me and the GoCrochet family had a good time though watching the games. (he played 5 in two days, we caught 2.5 of them). It was most pleasant because we were in the shade in the 90+ heat.
Stitch n' Pitch, for those of you who don't know, are events hosted by TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association) held at Major League Baseball fields all over the country. They give stitchers a discount, sit them together, give them a goodie bag, and encourage them to stitch during the game! Very cool.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Here is baby Hazel and Lucy. There is another cat in the family too, but I'm told she can't be bothered to sit for a photo. Congratulations Mary on your new pet!
In Crochet news, I've decided to work on the Rope Light by Punta yarns. Marketing a design is really determined by a number of factors, who would be interested in this type of design? Are they accepting yarns of this brand? Is it the right season to submit this type of pattern? I'll try to think about this and write more about how I decide to send what to who another day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Playing Hook-ie

We took a last minute trip to the "beach". The nearest reservoir that is! We had a great time and got too much sun. Here is Chief and the Captain burying Chickee in the sand...

And here is Chickee in all her Mermaid glory. She had to sing like Ariel to break the spell!
I brought my hooks, some yarn and a sketch book to the beach, and didn't even pick it up.
Here's an obvious tip for you... whenever you want to learn a new stitch, make it out of inexpensive cotton, make it squarish, and by the time you have learned the stitch/pattern, you'll probably have something big enough and appropriate for a kitchen rag. Might as well make your learning count for something you can use, right? This is why I love the leaflets for "dishcloths" because while I don't really want to make 30 cheery dishcloths, they are great little "studies" for learning skills and techniques with minimal time commitment and expense.
Monday, I hope to have an adorable photo of my new friend Hazel, with her big sister, Lucy.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Do I love it?

No, I don't love all my projects equally. And since they are just projects, it's ok to like some better than others. I'm feeling philosophical, hold on tight!

Why are certain projects lower on my "love" list? As a designer, I am sometimes asked to make a type of project with a specific yarn and color. If I have ever disliked a project I have made, I would say 90% of the time it is because I didn't care for the yarn that was chosen. The other 10% of the time if I dislike a project I have made it is because I feel like I could have made it better given more time, or I wish I could "do it over" because I learned something along the way that I wish I had known before I started the project. Are you following? This is very hard to talk about without being specific. But, I don't want to hurt any of my project's feelings, and if I were to be specific, a project might recognize itself in this discussion. :) Bear with me and be grateful that I'm not talking about myself in the third person! I'm feeling the need to throw out some Project Runway lingo, like "fiber-licious" and "Fierce".
What makes me LOVE a project? When it is a project that I feel is well executed (no mistakes) well written, has great colors, and is unlike anything I have ever seen before. My favorite afghan of all time (so far), Brocade

My favorite Bag of all time: (well, it's about to change any minute, but I can't share just yet).... Tunisian Backpack Purse. (View it at right of the blog page).

My favorite Garment of all time: Uh, again, I just designed 8 designs since January and I can't show you ANY of them!!!! So I can't tell you, which is fine, because it's really hard to decide. I love the projects for what I learned, the fit I achieved.

But, I can show you my favorite PILLOW of all time! (I think I have only done one....)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chief says...

"The Bees are polishing the flowers" (I think he meant pollinating)

"Let's hit the road, Dad"

"I'm turning into a bear with blond fur" (Upon noticing he has hair on his arms...)
On what he wants to be when he grows up: "A nerd with friends". (Because, to him, a nerd is a person who "gets" to play on the computer all day).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sneak Peek

A tiny sneak peek, if it were bigger, it would show too much! What are you doing today? I've been spending the past few days getting super organized. I guess when I'm in the mood to get organized I should go for it. I've been doing boring tedious tasks like going through my photo files and deleting off photos that don't need to be kept. Deleting files that are old and outdated. I printed out family photos from May, June and July, to get the kids' photo albums back up to date. I balanced the checkbook. As, I think I already said, I got my crochet charts/lists all in agreement. Each of my designs gets a code number (in case I need to invoice it, and for identification) and I title every project. Often, after a design is sold, the editor/buyer re-names my project. So, I go back and write the correct, permanent, new name on the file and put it in it's new alphabetical sequence. I'm more likely to remember the name the buyer gave it, than the dumb name I gave it. "Purple afghan" just doesn't cut for my filing system. So, I went back and re-labeled the stuff that needs to be re-labeled so that I can find it if I need it later. All of which have left me in a nice state of calm. Om. Sending some of my extra calm your way if you need it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Can't decide what to crochet today!

Hmmm, I'm free! Free to crochet anything I want. I have no deadlines! (until the yarn arrives for deadlines). So, I probably have up to 3 days before yarn arrives that I can do WHATEVER I WANT! Now, my Libra indecisiveness is showing. I have some yummy Plymouth Fantasy Linen, I have some terrific Punta Light Rope, I have some recycled Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine' . Decisions, decisions.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sneak Peek

Oh my gosh, is this the most boring sneak peek in GoCrochet history? I assure you, it's not a boring project, it's even a little...wild. I spent the weekend getting organized. April, May and June were seriously busy, crochet-wise. This means that all my organized charts and lists were all completed with less diligence. This weekend I went through my "books" to make sure that I know where all my submissions are, cross-referenced my lists so I don't send out the same submissions to the same people. I checked current submission calls and their deadlines to see if there was anything I could send out or if anything sparked my interest. And now, I am all caught up. Publishers are now looking at winter and Holiday items. I really, cannot get interested in holiday items right now! So, I'll try and ask myself the question, "What Holiday item would I love to have?" Because generally, if I design something that I would love to have, then others might love to have one too. Of course, if a buyer buys it and keeps it, then I don't get to have it after all. Ironic isn't it? Now, don't say, "you can just make another" because I'm really not good at making the same thing twice and I get busy with other things and it rarely happens.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rubik's cube

Did I tell you this story already? I can't remember exactly when I learned how to crochet, I think I was about ten. My Great Aunt Margaret, lived next door and she used to crochet doilies and I assume other things as well. I know she probably taught me a little. I don't know if she also taught my Mom? At some point, my Mom learned and taught me. The first project I ever remember making/designing was a granny square Rubik's cube. It was popular back then (the first time it was popular). I made a granny square in each color and sewed them together and stuffed it like an amigurumi. I don't remember any stuffing coming out, so I don't know exactly how I did it. Later, around 13 or 14, my Mom and I made a granny square afghan together out of scrap yarn for my Grandmother. Then, I believe I didn't pick it up again until grad school when I was around 22? And I've been crocheting almost daily ever since!

Friday, July 11, 2008

sneak peek!

Hmmm, what could this possibly be? It's PURPLE, that's for sure. It's the cool kind of purple that reminds you of grape Popsicles or grape Nehi soda. I actually had a grape "huggie" drink yesterday. Do you know the little kids' drinks that come in a clear plastic "barrel" and have the foil lid that you have to peel back? They are basically sugar water and they come in blue, red, orange and purple. (I've never seen a yellow or green one?) Anyway, we were having pizza with friends by the pool and the mom had brought all varieties of pop, but I don't drink pop, so I had a "huggie" instead. I have no idea why I call them "huggies" is that the name of them or did I just make that up somewhere along the way? Just like for years, my brother and I used to call Chee-tos "Corn-curls" but you have to say it really fast so that it sounds more like "kern-kerls". Oh yeah, back to crochet.... never crochet while eating Chee-tos, unless you are working with a project that is already orange.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

dpns conquered...????

I don't think "conquered" is the right word, but at least now, I understand the concept of double pointed needles. (dpns). Of course, since I have no desire at all to knot, I mean knit socks, I don't know when I would ever need to know how to use dpns. Still, even the smallest accomplishment is cause for chocolate cake, uh, I mean, it's cause for joy and satisfaction.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Frogged a WHOLE garment

This is all that remains of a garment I made almost two years ago, and I never wore it because it didn't fit the way I wanted it to. But, I know so much MORE now, I'm sure I can do a better job the second time around! So, I un-wove (is that a word?) the ends, took off the closures, and frogged that thing in 5 minutes flat! How many hours did it take me to make the first time? Enough that frogging it in 5 minutes is annoying. Oh well, The yarn is still lovely. I'll give it a few days to rest before I dig in and make my recycled item.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sneak peek

Ahh, my faithful readers, here is a Sneak Peek for you! Try not to look at the unwoven danglers back there. I had to prioritize today. Ends had to wait until later in the day.

I have to tell you, I love crochet. I can't not design. People talk about being burnt-out, I'm not there. Maybe one day I will feel "burnt out". But I'm not sure what that means? Does that mean that you don't want to crochet at all? Does that mean that you want to take a break and make something for yourself for a change (I get that!), or does it mean you want to strictly follow other people's patterns for awhile? When I was on vacation I didn't pick up a hook for a week. Mostly that was because I wanted to focus on the family (not to avoid crochet). It was also about giving my hands a vacation (because if I couldn't crochet, what would I do?). Nope, I don't understand feeling "Burnt out" on crochet design and I hope I never do.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Chief does homework

When woefully unprepared for a post, choose a photo of a cute kid or a photo of a beloved pet. Apparently we had too much fun this weekend, because I'm behind on a project I had hoped to ship today.....

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! One of the nice surprises about our new home is the spontaneous fireworks displays that frequently occur over the horizon as we sit on our deck. These fireworks were
last Saturday. That has to be the absolute best way to view fireworks! In your jammies, from your own home, with a beverage perhaps. Have a great weekend! Next post will be Monday.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Chickee Knits

I don't know if it is because she already knows how to crochet, or if it is because she is a little older now, but she picked up the knitting really quickly. Fortunately, I was able to hide my mixed emotions when she said that she likes knitting better (gasp!). Still, I'm just thrilled that she lets me teach her about fiberarts. I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that she is potentially picking up skills that will be lifelong friends for her.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Hmmm, is there an afghan pattern in here somewhere? Shawl inspiration? Is it the shapes, is it the colors? hmmm....

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My new PR photo

This is my new PR photo. My 15 yo niece, Erica, took the photo. She and her older sister, Jessica, are my "Consultants of Cool". (Because I definitely need Cool consultation).

Do you want to see some yarn?
Here is some great 100% Merino Wool by Louet. It is in their "Gems" collection. This one is the Bulky in "Sandalwood". I really, really like it. Here it is worked up in a sneak peek. I very much enjoy their saturated colors and their smooth fibers. They are also known for their Linen and Linen blend yarns. I used their MerLin in the Tunisian Lace Ascot that was in Interweave Crochet Spring 2008.

To top it all off, they are NICE to crocheters! Yay!