Friday, October 30, 2009

Driftwood Cap PDF now for sale!

Did you miss it? The Fall 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet? The issue that has the very popular Driftwood Cap in it? This cap has been made more than 100 times by so many people! Made for themselves, their kids and husbands! Made as gifts and charity donations. This hat has STRETCH as a defining feature. Either in solid or a print, with a brim or without, add your own flowers or don't, this hat is one of the most versatile things I have ever designed. And now, it's for sale as an individual PDF for $5.00. Buy it on Ravelry (you do not need to be a Ravelry member to buy it, but really, Ravelry is free to join...) Buy it here:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crocheting in the cold

I wear cold-weather crochet gloves! The last of the soccer games last weekend were very, very chilly. Bundled up on the bleachers, I sat down to crochet. Good thing I remembered to bring my special crochet gloves with me! These are just super inexpensive $2 gloves from the grocery. Ya know, the kind that start out really tiny but stretch to fit just about anyone? I have modified them to allow me to crochet. I put the gloves on, then began to crochet noting all the places my hands need to touch and tension the yarn...then I cut those parts off. For me, being right handed, I cut off the left index finger at the big joint, and also the pinkie of the left hand (for tension). On the right hand, the thumb and index fingers are cut off. It might be different for you and as you can see the two gloves are different. This makes crocheting in the cold bearable. Still, I tense up when I'm cold so I have to watch my gauge! Welcome new followers!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Being Happy

102 Followers! Thank you, thank you! What fun! Welcome followers!

I'm working feverishly toward a deadline. The deadline was very reasonable, but I just had so many projects that this one had to sit and wait it's turn, so now the clock is ticking.

And besides the book, I only have 2 projects in my queue that have deadlines. (Besides the book, of course, that I still work on in between more time sensitive work.

Also, holiday gift giving is creeping up on us.... have I already mentioned this? It's been on my mind, so I may have already mentioned it. I am trying to decide what the year's gift will be for teachers and helpers. Last year I made Tunisian Lace Ascots for everyone. I may end up defaulting to that versatile pattern again. I may actually knit up gifts this year to push myself into practicing my knitting. What are you doing for holiday giving?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No news isn't good news

You're in for a very disjointed post as I began this post a week or two ago and didn't get around to finishing it.

I'm thinking about doing a post on my blog about the importance of embracing 'Trial and Error' learning and how a crochet designer has to be very independent in seeking answers and how 'no news' isn't necessarily good news when it comes to pattern writing. And though it would be great to have a correspondence course that would teach you how to be a successful crochet designer and write and grade patterns and self-publish and deal with editors, it just isn't likely to happen because we all learn with every new project and that I'm sure some of the legends in the field also feel like they are still learning...

Wouldn't it be great just to hire someone to tech edit/grade/write patterns for you? Just sketch and swatch it up, pay a fee, and viola'! No! The art is in the execution and process of bringing the idea to life.

As a new designer, you could hire someone to look over your patterns for you, but that would get expensive in a hurry for a design that you aren't sure will sell or not. Make sure you do write down every new pattern as if you are making it for publication. Get friends or guild members to look it over or even make the item. Check your math. Count up the stitches in each row/round.

If you get to the point that your design is purchased, do your best to write the pattern in the style of the buyer. Usually, I will have the most recent magazine or published patterns in my lap when I'm writing a pattern and compare. Do they use a semi-colon? Where do they bold and where do they not? What abbreviations are used and what is spelled out? etc.

If you don't hear anything more, it isn't necessarily good news that your pattern was well written. The editors don't automatically contact you if there are errors. Usually they just fix them and don't tell you. (Which is actually pretty awesome, but then you don't learn how to write it better the next time). So, if you actually get to publication... compare how you wrote the pattern with how they put the pattern in the publication! See what they changed. How did they shorten it? How was it simplified?

Some buyers will contact you if there are questions or errors, which is also very nice and helpful, but at that point it is usually several months after you wrote and made the item, so it can be hard to recall.... so keep excellent notes about what you did, even if it's for your own clarification later.

The photo is Chief playing soccer. He really got better by the end of the season. This was his first year. I'm not sure if he wants to play next year although I hope he does because it's so important to be active and he doesn't show much interest in anything else besides the computer and reading. He's the closest one to the camera in the gray/red.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Watch past episodes!

Let them know here on the Create Channel website, that you like Knit and Crochet Now (formerly Knit and Crochet Today) and want it in your area!

Watch past episodes here!

What else is new in the Crochet world? I hear people had a great time at Stitches East and Rhinebeck the past few weeks! While these events are very knit heavy, many crocheters are making efforts to keep crochet well-represented.

Were you there? Tell me about it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sweets Witch

A crocheted witch hat for a guinea pig, and a knitted "cape" create this cavi ensemble.

Chickee knitted the cape herself and it is by far the best knitted piece she has done so far. The stitches are nice and even and she maintained count. Excellent! We talked about after Halloween, if she wants to make an identical cape, we can sew the two together and make a purse/pouch. Once you learn to make a rectangle in knit or crochet, the possibilities are endless! yay Chickee!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Quote and Sneak Peek?

Happy Fall!

Ok, here's the thing. I was working on a photo for you for Book Sneak Peek #4 when I started to worry that you all would figure out too much about the book if I let you peek them all... Also, the book was strategically moved to Spring 2011, rather than Fall 2010, which means there is months and months and months and months until it comes out. If I do all the sneak peeks now, you'll have nothing to look forward to. So, I'm in a dilemma, I want to sneak but it's like opening your gifts before Christmas only to have to re-wrap them and act surprised later.

So, I'm still trying to decide what to do.

In the meantime, I found this great quote along the lines of the design process I discussed here.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."

--Scott Adams, 'The Dilbert Principle'.

Thank you Scott! Well said.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Harvest in the Hollow

Every year our church/school does services in the "Hollow" which is the field behind school and then there is a big bonfire and party afterward. So here we are sitting in our lawn chairs last weekend waiting for the service to begin. I think it's so funny because over my right shoulder, the white canopy... is the beer booth! The photo above, is clearly after dinner and Chief won these great glasses in one of the kids game booths. He took them to school on Tuesday for 'share day' which is just their way of getting the kids to stand up and speak in front of the whole class.
Here I am wearing a Driftwood cap from Fall 08 Interweave Crochet, which I'm going to start selling as a PDF on Ravelry soon. I have a scarf made of SWTC Gianna around my neck. Chickee is wearing a modified Driftwood Cap, I forget which yarn. She is wearing the Tunisian Lace Ascot made of Patons SWS.
Chief is wearing a checkerboard scarf made of Caron Simply Soft. You can't see it, but Captain is wearing a Tunisian scarf I made for him out of Lion Wool. Aren't we just full of crochet! We're a walking billboard for crochet and it works! Later, a lady came up to me and introduced herself as a crocheter! Hi Katie! So great to meet people who crochet. She was just visiting for the festivities and doesn't go to our church, but still lives near, so hopefully we'll stay in touch.

I'm in a race to see how fast I can get done with a project and get to the post office today. That means you might get a sneak peek tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New article up

Thanks to Melissa Middendorf for writing this article about me for the Examiner. click here

This is Sweets after her first bath.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sneak Peek

This is the design that prompted the 'how to push a design from fine to great' discussion. I really hope it goes over well. I worked really hard on it. It's very hard to guess what people will like. I don't know how editors and buyers do it, sorting through all the designs they get and determining which ones are keepers. I imagine some jump out of the stack right away as, "not quites" but then sorting through the rest and imagining how they would look in different yarn, different size, how they'll fit with everything else! What a puzzle!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Moving a design from fine to GREAT

Over the weekend, I found myself asking, "How can I push this design from 'fine' to 'GREAT'". Of course, there is no clear answer, but I started thinking about COLOR. If I were to add a brighter/darker/different/unexpected color in some proportion (a little or a lot), would it "Make" this design?

What about TEXTURE? If I were to add texture either in the stitch or on the surface or with the yarn.... would that "Make" this design better? Or if I were to vary the texture in some areas but not others... would that push it to great?

What about SHAPE? Is there something that needs to be tweaked about the shape of the item either overall or in parts that will transform this project from average to unique?

What about BALANCE? Is it too symmetrical? If I do something to knock it off balance and make it asymmetrical, will it make it better?

Probably a question that might be overlooked is "Is it overdone?" Do I need to take something off, simplify, or make this less fussy in order to make it better?

It can be really hard to look at a design objectively, without any feelings about it, like you've never seen it before, like someone else made it. Answering some of these questions help me to see the project for what it is and hopefully make it great.

When in doubt, throw in a photo of an animal! From this angle, it looks like the giraffe is giving Chickee a kiss, but really she is feeding it a slice of sweet potato.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Knit and Crochet Now, part 3

Me and Kristin Nicholas as she gets ready for her taping. Kristin is actually on half of the episodes (that's alot of air time!)
Here's a bunch of us in one photo. Seated, is the incomparable, Candi Jensen, the producer of the show. I really don't think y'all need a reminder of who Candi Jensen is, but in case you need your memory jiggled of all of her amazing books, look here. Let's just say when I type in "Candi Jensen" on Amazon books there are 37 results! To the right, in the green sweater is Susan Levin, who you may have heard on recent episodes of Getting Loopy with Mary Beth Temple. Susan is also an author and wrote Crochet Your Way and ColorSense to name a few. Crochet your Way is particularly helpful if you are a Lefty as it has illustrations for both the right and left handed crocheter.

Then, of course, I am with Drew Emborsky and Mary Jane Hall. See the last two day's posts for their links. :)

Look at ME! I'm knitting! On the biggest darn needles I have ever seen. I was knitting FOR the show! ME! KNITTING! How cool is that? Now, You'll just have to watch the season and see if you can spot the finished project in a segment. (really, this was kind of a community project, I only had time for about a dozen rows before I had to pass it along to Candi and Susan).

Here's the set of the show with some cameras. For my interview, I sat in the right corner of that sofa.

Me and Brett Bara, host of the show. She is so funny and such a great host. She knows her knit and crochet and she stays so calm on camera. I can't wait to see the season on air. I really had a good time, can you tell? LOL. I had to go back through this post and take out most of the exclamation points so that you wouldn't think that I was totally out of control :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Knit and Crochet Now, Day 2

So, after my interview, I was casual again (no makeup) and I sit down on the set and I'm poking around and what do I see? An issue of Crochet Today magazine with my Let it Snow Throw on the cover!

Each episode, Brett Bara demonstrates a knit or crochet block. Then if you make each block, by the end of the season, you'll have a gorgeous sampler blanket and you'll have learned many new skills! This table is where she does the demonstrations for those blocks.

Here I am meeting the awesome Kristin Nicholas! She is one of the 4 experts on the show. She and Maggie Pace are the knit experts and Drew Emborsky and Myra Wood are the crochet experts for Season 3. (Myra and Maggie weren't there at the same time I was, so unfortunately, I don't have photos of them.) Chickee and I have been following Kristin's blog for some time as she raises her sheep and her family and writes books all at the same time. I was able to see Kristin's newest book, Color by Kristin in person. Wow. It's fabulous! There is so much more to her book than I would have guessed. A bunch of different stitch patterns so that you can CHOOSE what you want for the different projects! Illustrations on why her colors work. Fantastic.

Here I am posing with Drew Emborsky, the Crochet Dude. He is so funny and entertaining. He's got fun projects coming up on the show. And he'll be demonstrating a project of MINE! WooHoo! Thank you, Drew.

Here's me and Glenda hanging out in the "Green Room" which was blue. The last of the photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2010 Crochet Liberation Front Nominations....

The nominations group is up and running if any Ravelry members would like to make nominations.... Nominate here.

Knit and Crochet Now, Day 1

First, Knit and Crochet Now, is the new name of the Knit and Crochet Today Show, on in most of the major markets in the US. This Emmy-nominated show has adjusted it's name and now it is known as Knit and Crochet Now. If you don't get the show, you can order a DVD of past seasons here. (I have both season 1 and season 2!) I have the DVD's because it comes with all the patterns. While I'm not as likely to use the crochet patterns, I'm learning so much from the knit ones and the demonstrations of those patterns by knit experts Kristin Nicholas and Maggie Pace.

So, the first day, we arrived at the Detroit Public Television Studios in Wixom, MI.I'm standing here with crochet author, Mary Jane Hall, the author of Positively Crochet and Crochet that Fits.

This is my step-mother and friend, Glenda and I as we await my turn in the make-up chair.

Here is the Emmy winning make-up artist, Amanie, making magic while Brett Bara, author of Crochet Today magazine and host of the show, looks on awaiting her turn.

Amanie approves of the job she did erasing the black circles under my eyes! Isn't she gorgeous? I'm going to confirm the spelling of her name later today. I apologize if I have gotten it wrong. The sweater I'm wearing is an easy crochet design made of Louet Riverstone that I'm going to sell as a PDF on Ravelry before Thanksgiving (that's the plan!). Stay tuned for more photos and highlights from my first experience in television!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Road Trip!

Can you read this box? It says, "Put away by Sunday or it's thrown away". Charlie got in. Is he trying to tell me something? Does he want to defect since Sweets came along?

This morning I'm out the door for my road trip to Detroit! Wish me luck! I hope I'll be able to share many photos of some names you'll recognize, probably, hopefully on Wednesday, Thursday at the latest. Thanks for hanging in there with me while I take the day "off".

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Packing for my road trip! I'm picking up Grandma Glenda and Mary Jane Hall along the way. Mary Jane is the author of Positively Crochet and Crochet that Fits. It's a crochet road trip! This is a photo from a year or two ago. Me wearing a design by Doris Chan.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Answering a few questions...

I totally slept in this morning and it was wonderful! The kids have the day off and it is rainy and gloomy and I barely woke when Captain left for work. (poor guy had to go to work).

Chickee and I made this chocolate cheesecake for my birthday last week. The edges were good.... the middle.... had to be thrown out. Oh well. Cheesecake can be tricky (I tell myself).

Ok, on to your questions:

Yes, I have a whole room (and big closet) dedicated to crochet. Now, Captain thinks that it's the "office" and I might allow him to change the name to make him feel better.... but if it's full of yarn, and full of crochet books, and full of crochet tools.... well, ya' know... if it acts like a duck...

Am I going to be on TV? uh, yes. That's the plan! I hope to reveal more late next week.

Don't worry, Charlie the cat is very much curious/afraid of guinea pig, and he only has one tooth and no front claws... still they are both carefully supervised when the Sweets is out of her cage and I wouldn't let anything happen to either one of them.

I looked for that first book by Janet Evanovich yesterday and couldn't find it. I'll request it from the library next time. This time I picked up a book by Louisa May Alcott, "The Long Fatal Love Chase" or something like that.

Yes, I know I could go on individual author;s websites to find the sequence of their books, but usually I just go to the library without a plan and pull something off the shelf that has a pretty cover, I don't always research a book or author before I choose.

The Crochet and Chat is held the 2nd Thursday of each month at 10:30 at the Miami Township Library (Cleves, OH). It is very close to Indiana and KY, so if you're near, I'd love to see you. All fiber crafts are welcome.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Charlie and Sweets

In the meantime... I'm getting out every crocheted garment that I own and trying to decide what I should wear!

Today is Crochet and Chat at the Library at 10:30 Eastern! Join us if you are in SouthWest Ohio or near.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Another hint about my newest big news?..... I had lucky timing in getting a new hair-do!

Food For thought.

Have you ever wondered what a knit/crochet designer earns? Read a glimpse of it here at Annie Modesitt's blog.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Pattern writing usually happens on Wednesdays while the kids are at school or Wednesday nights after the kids go to bed. Occasionally, if I get a burst of energy, I might write at another time. I try to really only do the tasks when I feel like doing them. If I feel like designing, I try to let myself do it... I don't want to pass up inspiration when it hits. I don't always feel like pattern writing, but often when I get into it... I get into it.

I just found out that my big news that involves a road trip is probably going to include dinner out with 8-9 really cool people.

Monday, October 5, 2009

yarn mess

Oh! There's a sneak peek in there too! This is just the yarn that is in the living room that I feel that I need right now. There are several more boxes of yarn up in the crochet room that I feel can wait until tomorrow! Yarn has completely taken over the house. (I love it.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

More big news is coming...

Maybe next week, maybe the week after that. I know I'm a tease, it's just such great news it's really hard to keep to myself until I'm allowed to reveal it!

This is one of my project bags Charlie is sitting on as if to say, "Stop crocheting and pet me!"

I love faux crocodile and have probably 3 purses that have that texture. This is my current favorite. It's a great size for a couple skeins of yarn and a file folder.

Hmmm, a hint... you want a hint? My good news involves a road trip!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sneak Peek #3 and Seven stitches short...

Don't you hate it when you run out of yarn with seven stitches left to go? I'm just saying it's a miracle (not exaggerating) when you finish with a neat 4" of yarn left for the tail to be woven in.