Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jingle Ball and Baby Rattle

I had so much fun with these little projects. What was even more fun is the ball. It is just the perfect size and fits in the palm of your hand. Both of them have jingle cat toy balls in them that I bought at the grocery store. They jingle without being obnoxious. After they were photographed for the book, I got them back! That's rare. They are in the book, Chain-Free Crochet Made Easy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ribbed Throw Revealed

I don't remember doing a sneak peek for this one, but now it's published! Just one of 6 items in the new Chain Free Crochet Made Easy by DRG books, edited by Judy Crow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

'Dressed up' Decree

I here by decree that whenever I take the time to get 'dressed-up' someone shall take my picture. 'Dressed-up' by definition will need at least 4 of the following criteria:

Make up is done
Hair is done (that is... not in a ponytail)
skirt is worn
slacks other than jeans are worn
I'm wearing something new
Heels or other "cute" shoes are displayed
perfume is on
one piece of heirloom jewelry is on

The above photo:
hair check!
make-up check!
high-heel boots check!
new shirt check!

Photo taken, thank you very much.

That is all.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I was seen knitting over Easter.... Just some mindless knitting with great yarn on big needles. This is Lorna's Laces gorgeous Shepherd Bulky. I love, love, love the feel of this yarn. This scarf still curls though. What's the solution? Leave a comment and tell me what I should have done differently. there are 3 garter sts on either edge and stockinette in the middle. My next scarf will be ribbed? I really need to learn how to make a hat. Now that would be progress.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Design Journey: Super Speedy Shrug

For those of you interested in making the Super Speedy Shrug, I made it out of Louet Gems Bulky, which is wool. The name of the yarn is somewhat misleading though because it is not at all what I would consider "bulky". Here is a photo of the Gems Bulky next to some other yarns that you might be more familiar with, Caron Simply Soft, Red Heart Super Saver, and Lion Brand Vanna's Choice. The Louet is the 2nd one from the top. The Louet can be found at Paradise Fibers. I have never ordered from Paradise fibers, but it is one supplier. Looking at this photo, it made me really second guess myself, could this really be labeled 'chunky', because they also have a Gem's in a Light worsted.... but I just checked my labels again on my leftovers and it does indeed say, "chunky". Go figure.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Horizon Tote PDF now available

The Horizon Tote pattern is now available! for $6.00 you can get the PDF. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it. We'll start the CAL on May 1.

Hi new followers! thanks for joining us!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sneak Peek

You haven't been seeing as many sneak peeks lately, where have I been? Some companies don't want me to do sneak peeks, so I don't for them :) I have been busy though, perhaps not quite as busy as last fall...

Here's a pretty sneak peek, pretty sneaky! I also love, love, love the yarn. But I'm not sure if I'm allowed to reveal that right now...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Super Speedy Shrug

Me and Chickee, and nephew, Jacob, the day before Easter at Grandpa Dave's dying Easter eggs. I'm wearing the Super Speedy Shrug. Chief was away with Captain at a football thing at Michigan. I'm writing this pattern TODAY. Of course, it may take more than one day... but I'm working on it, along with a dozen other things, LOL. The end of the school year brings, school plays to attend, dance recitals to watch, grandparents' Days' to remember, spring soccer in full swing, and of course, Chickee's First Communion which includes many extra events, tasks and meetings. Through it all, there is crochet!

The Horizon Tote pattern is done, that's tomorrow's task, to get it up and the notice posted here to direct you all to it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Crochet in Catalogs

I got the new Chadwick's Clothing catalog. They always have a few crochet items, here's the link to see what they have: Crochet at Chadwick's

Also the new Coldwater Creek catalog has some crochet in it: Crochet at Coldwater Creek. The red cardigan on the second page is kinda cute. Not earth-shatteringly innovative, but cute.

I like to look at these just to see what people are interested in with crochet. Mostly it's edgings, but sometimes you find a piece or two that really showcase crochet. Sometimes I can find where they said crochet, and it's really knit. Sometimes you can't tell.

On a completely unrelated topic... Chickee was inspired by Chief's birdhouses, so she, wanting to be different, researched how to make a "Bat house". She and Captain made this last weekend. Notice how she wrote "Welcome bats" on it. She makes me laugh.

Again switching topics. Many people have asked for the Super Speedy Shrug pattern. So I'm working on it and will post when it's available. Thanks!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Working from home

I realize I've never really talked about working from home before. Many designers also work "real jobs" in addition to free-lance crocheting every waking moment. I don't know how they are so productive in such a small amount of available free time.

I, however, am now a full-time Mom and full-time crocheter, which makes 2 full-time jobs. I've read tips in the past about working from home. All sorts of nice thoughts, like having a dedicated work space, working set hours, having a separate phone line, etc. Those are nice ideas, but they haven't worked for me.

Work space. Work space is a really funny idea. I have my "crochet room" which houses my bookshelves, filing cabinets, printers, dressform, etc. I have my "stash closet" that runs half the length of the house, off the "crochet room" where I keep all my stash, more files, notions, etc. But I don't really work in there because it's boring. I don't want to be shut off in a room away from the tv everyone.

So, my workspace is every available square inch of coffee table, sideboard table, laundry basket at the end of the couch, at my bedside, etc.

The idea of set hours is an attractive thing, but really, I crochet every spare minute of the day. Depending on deadlines, I may crochet late into the night, early in the morning. I just crochet whenever I can. I usually save pattern writing for when I can concentrate, after the kids go to bed or on nights when Captain is away. When the kids are home I am usually in 'production' mode, doing the actual stitching. Sometimes I can design while the kids are underfoot.

I think, in some states, if you work from home, you can deduct the use of square footage and odd things as business expenses. I don't, though, because in my house, the line where crochet begins and crochet ends is invisible.

Here's a really funny photo that a childhood friend just sent me. This is taken in June 1984 in front of the house I grew up in. I am in the middle of the bottom row, with my hair in my face. It was the Michael Jackson era, and we all had shirts from Velva Sheen that had the name of his song "Beat it" on the front. All except for poor Stacy, because by the time she joined the "club", we had bought out all of Velva Sheen's stock of "Beat it" decals. She doesn't look too happy, does she? poor thing. Go ahead and laugh. Laughter is good.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Design Journey: CAL Tote

First, Thanks everyone for the nice comments about Chickee's Dress. I really feel much better about it now that it has the sleeves on it.

Now, on to the tote! Here's a photo of Tracy's version of the bag, it is 19"x14" (length and width). She used (1) Sensations Blue/Taupe from Joanns 11 oz/ 615 yds *will stretch so she added blue canvas fabric inside.

The handle is: Purse n-aliz-it! One pair 25.25"x.5" vinyl handles *sewed it directly onto blue fabric canvas and not the crocheted tote part.

Great job Tracy! So Tracy followed the stitch pattern, but didn't felt it. She also adjusted the multiples so that the bag would be smaller.

Remember, if you are going to felt your bag, it's got to start out huge, so that when it felts (and shrinks) it will still be large.

Here's a photo of my tote.The pattern calls for: 15 balls of Caron International's "Felt It" (100% wool, 1.76 oz, 93 yds) #0003 Wildflowers. One US I/9 (5.5mm) crochet hook.

Before felting: 20" wide x 18" tall x 8"
After felting: 14" wide s 13" tall x 5". Crocheted straps after felting = 24"

Both of the blue "GoCrochet" Horizon Tote photos are the EXACT same bag. I put the handles on first, took the photo, then removed the handles, crocheted and felted the long strap, then sewed it on to the same bag. You can do yours anyway you want! The fun thing about this bag is that it is felted, but it has texture! If you choose not to felt, like Tracy, you can either follow the pattern exactly and get the HUGE before-felting measurements, or you can size it down with smaller hook, smaller yarn, or reduce the number of stitches. I think Tracy "did the math" to size it down for her own needs.

Anyone who wants to join us in the CAL should have their materials by May 1. OK? Also, I will have the pattern for you by then too for purchase of the PDF download. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read it. You will be able to print it or save it to your hard drive. The price of the pattern will be $6.00. Everyone who completes the pattern and sends me a photo of the completed project by June 15, will be entered into a drawing for a prize. (I haven't decided on the prize yet, but I've got some great stuff in mind). I'm sorry, but only people in the US/Canada will be eligible for a drawing for the prize. Shipping is expensive :( If I draw a winner from anywhere else, I'll send you a PDF of one of my available patterns. More details will follow as it gets closer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Design Journey: Chickee's Dress DONE!

I'm so excited that this is done! It finally feels "finished". (Although I may go back and re-do the embroidered flowers.) The top feels better, not as plain as before I put on the sleeves and flowers. Now, with the sleeves, I probably could even take the flowers off..... You'll have to wait until May to see it on Chickee, but here it is flat. I also put a short 3 row edging on the shrug sleeves.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Design Journey: Chickee's Dress

Can you see the hint of embroidered 'Lazy Daisy' on the right? And the tiny crocheted flower on the left. I was trying to decide which type of flower to use just above the crocheted waistband/sash. I was somewhat unhappy at the quality of my lazy daisies, but I like how subtle they are. They add just enough interest without being too obvious. I'm going to make 4 or 5 across the front. Wish me luck! I also started taking off the armhole edging and crocheting a cap sleeve in the skirt pattern around the armhole. When I get one done, I'll show you a photo, then I'll decide if I want to keep the cap sleeve or keep it sleeveless. I sewed up the ends of the shrug, so now it has armholes. I need to decide if/what kind of edging to put on it. Decisions, decisions! It's what design is all about. It's what makes every project unique and shows me how much more I still need to do! I hope to finish the dress by the weekend. (That would be a relief!)

I hope you had a great Easter/Passover. We had a nice day here. Of course, no one took a photo of me wearing the Super Speedy Shrug, but I took lots of photos of the kids.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Design Journey: CAL Tote

Just a quick post because everyone is home again today, so I'm not quite back into the swing of things yet. My pattern tester finished with the HUGE tote, so we are ready to move forward on this (finally). So stay tuned. I'm going to try and get you the materials list tomorrow.

My tester made the tote smaller for her needs, so we might have some options for you!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Design Journey: Super Speedy Shrug/Bolero DONE

I went through my button bin and found this odd assortment in the approximate size. I'm sure you could call a few of them "vintage". The retro one in the upper left corner was cool, but quickly the little star shaped thing in the middle fell off. I didn't make any button holes, so I needed buttons that would naturally fit through the openings made by the pattern. I ended up choosing the 2 silver buttons in the package on the right.

Here it is on and finished! "On time and Under Budget" as Captain would say.
The forecast says it's going to be a high of 60 on Sunday. I'll probably still be chilly even with this on. I'm a freeze-cat most of the time.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strapped for Bags, Volume 3

The Straight From Today's Designers group has put out Volume 3 of 'Strapped for bags' with 7 new designs by top designers: Dee Stanziano, Vashti Braha, Doris Chan, Tammy Hildebrand, Marty Miller, Amy O'Neill Houck and Noreen Crone-Findlay. See more details here. Don't forget, Volumes 1 and 2 and "Crochet Belts from the hip" are all available. Collect 'em all as PDF digital downloadable e-books.

This book includes felted bags, regular bags, tote bags, a backpack. Lots of good stuff. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Design Journey: Super Speedy Shrug/Bolero

One good thing about designing for myself... I'm allowed to change my mind! Or, I can waffle wildly back and forth! Yesterday you saw the 'short sleeve'. Today, the top photo is the elbow length sleeve, and the bottom photo is the 3/4 length sleeve. The thing about 3/4 length sleeves on me, is that my arms are so long that 3/4 length sleeves just look like sleeves that are too short. I did taper the sleeves just a bit. I usually like sleeves either short, or halfway down my hand. Ah, long sleeves that are long enough are such a luxury for me! I'm leaning toward the elbow length sleeve, but I'd welcome your comments.

I think the stitch pattern is called #28. Haha. I got it from a stitch dictionary. If I re-make this item for sale, I'm going to alter some things about the stitch pattern, but essentially it will be the same.

Now, to think about edging, the button, and make a final decision on the sleeves.

Did anyone catch me on YarnThing Blog Talk Radio last night? What fun! I had a blast talking with Marly. Her excitement about crochet and her gracious attitude is so infectious. She said such nice things about me and my work that I spent the evening replaying the whole conversation in my head. Of course, I don't really have to do that, I can go back and listen to the whole hour long interview on archives! And so can you! Very cool. Thanks again, Marly!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Design Journey: Super Speedy Shrug

Here's the basic sketches for the shrug. In the lower sketch, I put in my shrug measurements. I decided to go with 2" of ease because I'll be wearing it over a close fitting dress. In the sleeve, I am putting 1" of ease. You can see the scribbles where I had to adjust the inches to reflect the stitch pattern. One repeat of the stitch pattern is about 2.5" square, so I couldn't get my projected measurements exactly. I got the numbers from my own body and the ASTM charts (that you have to buy).
I chose the Crabapple Louet Gems, chunky because it called to me more than the other yarns. It's a great yarn, but I really don't have a reason for choosing it over the others except that's what I reached for when I grabbed my hook. I'm using a "K" Bates hook. (But I really use Bates and Boyes both, I like my Bates set because it has a clay handle on it.) This photo is with half of one sleeve done and it makes me re-think the sleeve. I'm kind of liking the short sleeve. Should I stop here, or should I continue to make it long sleeved? I think I could have shortened the whole thing by like 2".

Here's the back...
Here's the Easter Dress. Chief took the photo for me...
Again, Chief took the photo, here is the shrug with the dress. I still have to put an edging along the front which will close the whole thing up a bit more. I'm planning to put one big button to close it at the bottom, 1.5"? I'd be glad to hear your comments.

Don't forget to read below for my first post of the day.

Design Journey: Chickee's Dress

It's NOT finished yet! But I know many of you are anxious to see progress, so I'm making myself vulnerable for you and showing you this First Communion dress. Ok, most importantly, Chickee says she likes it. I'm not thrilled that the dress is hanging lower at the waist than I had planned because the skirt weighs much more than I had anticipated. I knew this would happen, but I didn't think it would pull down so much. So the waist line is lower than I wanted it.
I think the back looks nice. The top front is too plain, so I'm thinking of adding some surface embroidery along the sash. I might also add a little cap sleeve to help it be less boring.
The shrug is not done, but is coming along and I think it helps balance out the skirt.

Don't forget to listen to me on YarnThing tonight if you can. See yesterday's post for the links.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'll be on Yarn Thing Tuesday night, April 7th

Marly Bird of the Yarn Thing has invited me to be a guest on her live Blog Talk Radio show Tuesday night, April 7th at 9pm Mountain, 10 pM Central, 11pm Eastern. If you can't listen to the show when it airs live, you'll be able to listen to it on archives. It's free. I don't know if you have to register to listen to a show? If you are already registered, because you listen to Getting Loopy with Mary Beth Temple, then you are good to go to listen to YarnThing as well. You won't need a new password and username.

Marly has already interviewed Candi Jensen and Kristin Omdahl. If you missed those episodes, you can listen to them on archives too. Marly herself is a published crochet and knit designer with some great stuff she's made the past year or two since she came on the scene.

The photo is of me and Marly and designer, Jill Wright, at TNNA in Columbus, OH in June 2008. There is a thread started at the YarnThing group on Ravelry.

I'm making progress on the Super Speedy Shrug. I'll try and post about it tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Design Journey: Super Speedy Shrug

This is what I found in my stash, that I think I have adequate quantities to make a long-sleeve bolero: Above, Louet Gems, Chunky weight in "Crabapple". Wool. Love it, but I'm not sure about the color to go with my black/gray/white dress.

Red Heart Luster Sheen in Bluette. Love the yarn weight. If it's going to be "speedy" though, this might take too long. Also, the color.
Plymouth Fantasy Linen. Good yarn. Linen would be good. This is a pale blue with a little taupe strand in it. I don't think it would work with my dress, although it's a good choice.
Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine in Lavender. I loved this color when I bought it, but it is like the exact tone as my skin, so I don't think it is going to work this time. It probably is a yarn I should make something as a gift for a person with a darker skin tone.
Punta del este yarns, Rope Light linen in a cinnamon type color. This could work. I'm not really thrilled about this linen being next to my skin, but I have to remember that blocking and washing does great things for linen.

I kinda wish that I had some Caron Country in like a Charcoal color or the silvery gray color, that probably would be excellent.

I'm thinking I want to do some kind of open shell stitch. Something easy. Something fun and quick. Something that will give me enough coverage but not get stiff or solid.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wondering...Design Journey: Super Speedy Bolero?

If I have time to design a shrug/bolero for myself and make it by Easter, next Sunday the 12th? I'm thinking about what I have in my stash... of course, I never have enough of the "right" yarn in my stash when I want to make something "right now". I might have to make a quick Hobby Lobby run? What do they carry? Patons Grace? The leftover cotton from Chickee's dress? I don't want to mail order something and pay expedited shipping. It would be best to use stash yarn.... I have some Nashua DK Creative Focus Cotton... but only in the coral and turquoise, which might be too bright for me with my black and white dress...

Hmm, do I have time? Should I be working on deadline projects instead? Probably. But, if I make some little cover-up for me by Easter, then I can also wear it at First Communion... tempting.

I'd want something pretty lightweight. Something short/bolero or cropped length. Probably 3/4 sleeve. Maybe something that ties in front or fastens with one button. Something that has just enough ease to wear over my short-sleeved dress. Maybe I should do some sketching and some "spelunking in my stash".

"Corrections" Section added

On the right hand column, I have added a new section for links to "corrections" to published patterns. I added the link for the corrections for the Still Waters Shrug, published in Interweave Crochet, Spring 2009.

Errors are one of those terrible inevitable things. And this is such an EASY pattern too! It should have been the easiest to get right. Oh well. Sorry.

Here's Chief and his third birdhouse. He's really proud. (and so am I.) :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tunisian Lace Ascot

Now Available as an individual pattern PDF! This pattern has been made by so many people and was in Interweave Crochet Spring 2008, I can't imagine anyone doesn't have the pattern yet, but here it is just in case! As you can see, I've made this scarf in heavy yarns, in light yarns, in acrylic yarns, in alpaca yarns. It's so versatile. I've also included process photos in the PDF for anyone who is new or nervous about Tunisian Crochet. If you make the pattern as written on a small yarn, it will only be about 3" wide, so you can even use a standard crochet hook instead of a Tunisian one if you prefer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Diagonal Baby Blanket Revealed

Here's the sneak peek you saw.....
....and here's the reveal....It's in the new issue of Crochet Today (May/June 2009).

This blanket is EASY, beginner even. It is 2 triangles whipstitched together. The yarn is TLC Baby Amore and is really, really soft.

Also, an error was found in the Still Waters Shrug Pattern, that is in Interweave Spring 2009. I have contacted the publisher and hopefully the notes will be up soon on their website. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No Joke!

March was a huge, busy, thrilling, stressful, exciting, hopeful month. Thanks for hanging in there with me! Let's get back to business:

The Horizon Tote pattern is coming. My helper had an issue that delayed us a little, but it's not her fault, because clearly I was a huge part in the delay. But it's coming, I haven't forgotten.

The First Communion Dress hasn't been touched in like a month. Instead, I bought a tiara/veil and assembled them, ordered and mailed the invitations, and we began discussing the menu. We've also had meetings and banners to create. It's a big deal for Chickee and she is very excited.

I got to give my acceptance speech on Getting Loopy for my 'Flamie' award on 3/30. You can hear it here on archives if you missed it.

What else is new? Chief has been busy making more birdhouses. I'm just thrilled that he has found something that interests him that is NOT on the computer. Still, he can only make these with Captain's help.