Saturday, July 31, 2010

Red's Game

Last week in very, very hot weather, we went to an afternoon Cincinnati Red's Game. You can't see, but I had stashed little bags of ice under our ball caps trying to keep us cool! They lost but as long as there is cotton candy, you know the kids had a great time.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

O My Gosh. I'm so embarrassed. The extremely talented knit and crochet designer, Kimberly McAlindin nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award and I totally missed it! Over my head!

These are the kind things she said:
So, I now nominate Ellen Gormley....because between raising a family (and a ton of pets) and writing a book, and hosting crochet-a-longs and regular design work.... she updates her blog more than any other blog I read - plus, she is a really great person...

So, as part of my acceptance speech, I have to write 7 interesting things about me.... here goes

1. Someone once sent me a dressform as a RAK and I never did find out who sent it. (Thank you, again.)
2. I recently bought myself a hula-hoop for exercise. (I'm getting pretty good at it!)
3. I love Carol Burnett and think she is a comedic genius.
4. I once was cajoled into juggling dinner rolls at a certain Fashion Show.
5. I horde aluminum crochet hooks though I can only use one at a time...
6. I change my favorite color frequently, right now it is medium blue
7. I just reached 100 original projects on my project page on Ravelry

And now, I nominate.... Annette Petavy. Annette is a crochet designer with projects you'll recognize. Her blog and newsletter is in both French and English. Her newsletters in particular are very informative and I look forward to them! Of course her work is really inspired.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Cincinnati Zoo

Grandpa Dave.... you probably don't want to scroll down after the photo of me with the kids... :)
We love the zoo. When we lived closer we used to have a membership. Now we don't get there as often, but we still love it! Here is Chief with the giraffes. A giraffe photo is always a given on every trip since my Mom was obsessed with giraffes, as a result they have become very special to us.
Chickee feeding a lorakeet.
Well, hello, handsome fellow.

These crocodiles made me laugh! Sleeping in a pile like cats. (yes, they were sleeping)
I love the polar bears!
Me and the kids! I wish I had noticed sooner in the day just how many animals have a variety that is a black and white color combination... the zebras (obviously), lemurs, birds in the aviary, skunks, various monkeys... and our cat! Chief was so brave in this next photo....

It's a full-grown Brazilian Rainbow Boa. The handler was so interesting. Thanks again to the Cincinnati Zoo, every time we go, we are never disappointed and there is always more to see and learn.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tunisian Patina Scarf PDF available! CAL:Tunisian

I call this the 'Patina Scarf' because the yarn, Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb, in this colorway reminds me of the patina that occurs on the surface of ornamental metal. It was in Inside Crochet, issue 5, where they named it the 'Tunisian Scarf'. This scarf, though, is wide enough to be a shoulder wrap and I also had it tied in Japanese Obi fashion as a belt. Above, I am talking with (L-R) Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby (Shibaguyz), Rebecca Velasquez, and Karen Whooley. (The above photo is by Vashti Braha) (The above photo is by Rebecca Velasquez)

This is the pattern we will be using in the Tunisian Crochet Along. It will likely begin September 1.

This scarf is only 2 different rows to learn. Very easy. Buy the PDF now for $6.00 USD

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Chain Link Photos

More photos have surfaced from the Knit and Crochet Show, CGOA conference in Manchester, NH, commonly referred to as "Chain Link". Above is me in the Fashion Show wearing Margaret Hubert's prize winning freeform cardigan design.

Someone asked me about this Halter top design, it's not yet available. (Photo by Rebecca Velasquez) I have no idea what's going to happen to it or where it might end up. Above, I'm wearing the Tunisian Scarf from Inside Crochet...issue 5, which will be available for PDF purchase tomorrow!
Here's me with Tammy Hildebrand wearing a dress of her design. This was taken at Professional Development Day. (Photo courtesy of Tammy Hildebrand). We had raffles to raise money for Lyme Disease Awareness. Tammy wore a Lime colored dress in honor of the event.

To see many more photos of the event, go to the CGOA Flickr group.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Advanced Shawl CAL

Whatever happened to the Whisper Wrap Crochet Along?

Did you finish? Did you stall? How did it go? Haley and I finished ours! What do you need to finish yours? Please comment here. What would make the CALs better for you? I'm open to suggestions.

Would you be interested in a Tunisian Crochet Along?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Beach Sarong PDF available!

The Beach Sarong! You saw it first in Interweave Crochet, Summer 2009 and now it is available in individual PDF for $6.00.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mid-year Check in and Swimming

It's time! It's time to do our mid-year check in on goals! Also, it's time to print/save the financial reports and receipts for the first half of the year! This shouldn't take but less than 5 minutes because you've been keeping up with it all year, right? :)

What goals did you have for 2010? Did you make resolutions? Are you half-way there? The year is half over, you'd better either get on it, or if your goal was unrealistic, it's time to make new goals. You might have even accomplished some things you hadn't anticipated! Add those things to the list and cross them off as achieved! Give yourself credit!

Above, Chief earned his swimming trophy having spent 2/3rds of the swim season with a broken arm. Chickee earned her medals and trophy by being on the #1 medley relay team (she's the backstroker), then she got 2nd in individual freestyle and 3rd in individual backstroke. These races were the B championships (citywide). Chief came in 18th in Breaststroke in the city A finals.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sneak Peek

It's sneak peek time! It feels like a long time since I have had a sneak peek for you. I know that I just completed 5 major projects that I couldn't do sneak peeks on, so that is why there has been a big lag. Today is a 'no-stitching' day. Just sketching, if I get around to it. My hands need a break from the last several days. (Let's see if I can go a whole day without picking up a hook... I'll bet I won't be able to do it...)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Polymer Clay buttons

Last week, the kids and I followed Linda Permann's tutorial on how to make Polymer Clay buttons!Chief had great color mixing skills and found of way of pinching and pulling apart the balls of mixed colors before they got too muddy.
Chickee became an expert at rolling the clay in a thin layer and cutting them with one of her play-doh tools.
It was a fun easy project, but I wouldn't say that it is good for children who are perfectionists or easily frustrated. Luckily, Chickee and Chief were in an amiable mood and didn't compete or fret over who's buttons turned out better. We bought the clay at the craft store and used play-doh tools for rolling and shaping. We used a tooth pick to make the holes for the buttons. The baking sheet was lined with parchment paper. We baked the clay according to the package instructions, something like 275 F degrees for 15 minutes.

And yes, Chickee is wearing her 'made by Doris Chan' sweater. She wears it often (and well too, I might add).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Socks for me!

Look what Christine sent me! My first ever pair of handknit socks! And a pretty candle and a bottle of Euclan wool wash. Thank you so much Christine! These are going to become part of my have-to-get-major-crocheting-done ensemble along with my 'Crochet Rocks' t-shirt and shorts.

Don't you just love nice people?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sporty Zip Vest Revealed!

In the new issue of Crochet Today! WooHoo! It has pockets and a zipper and is so fluffy soft I hear the model didn't want to take it off.

Tomorrow... I received a fun package over the weekend that I will have to share with you. Also, don't forget to read Saturday's bonus post Book Review.

It's Christmas in July here at GoCrochet, today I'm working hard to finish up a holiday project. What are you making in this hot July heat?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Book Review: Knitgrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design

And don't we all need to keep our knits about us?
While this book is geared toward people who want to or are pursuing careers in knit and crochet design... I know there are many of you out there who love "being in the know" about the industry you love. YOU as consumers, are also part of this industry and you will be fascinated by the inner workings of the design world. You might also LOVE the chapter at the end that is nothing but interviews with professionals and their views of the knit and crochet world we all live in.

Shannon Okey wrote the book that so many new designers (knit or crochet) need. There are many important topics covered. Here's the list of chapters, all the comments that follow are mine:

1.What does it mean to be a professional? (OMgoodness how useful is this! It even reminded me to get back into a few good habits that I have let relax a bit...)
2. Social Media (Love it or hate it, it's here and if you want to write a book with or without a publisher, you'll have to know how to use it.)
3. TCB, NO PB&J Required, or: The Business Side of Things This is a discussion on all the related activities to knit and crochet design that can also bring income.
4. Send in the Lawyers Good basic information.
5. Writing Patterns (Note to this chapter a few more times! Don't we all want to be good at writing patterns?)
6. Making Sales (This was so interesting to me! The nuts and bolts of which outlets garner bigger profits, at the same time, there are upsides and downsides to PDF, hardcopy and using distributors. Very interesting... note to self... read this chapter again too...)
7. Proposals and Publishing (Don't be tempted to skip all the other chapters and go right to this one. I know it's an attractive subject and you'll want to read it for sure, but read the whole book).
8. Advertising (You gotta do it one way or another, here are some options!)
9. Further Education (I admit, this chapter, so well researched, just made me jealous for all these wonderful institutions who believe in making fabric from yarn through knit (and I assume, crochet). Ooohhh how wonderful would it be to take some classes at some of these domestic and exotic meccas of fiber learning? I wish I big ol grant would fall from the sky so that I could go! ...and take the family with me...)
10. Professional Organizations and Associations YAY! She mentioned the Knit and Crochet Show, and CGOA! Thank you, Shannon! She quotes Robyn Chachula, who just resigned the post of Professional Development Chair, Tammy Hildebrand it taking over.
11. Standing Out Isn't this a concern of of 99% of us females in a female dominated industry. It's easy to feel that you blend in with the crowd of other designers who all seem to be part of the same demographic. Standing out is important. (ok, ok, note to self... re-read this chapter again too...
12. The Interviews The list of 32 industry professionals interviewed is like a who's who of the knit design industry... with a few cross-over pros (both knit and crochet) and several editor types. ALL the interviews are telling and fascinating to hear these women share where they think the industry is headed, what do they wish they had known when they began designing, what makes a great design, what do great designers have in common.... GREAT STUFF.

Between all my highlights and underlines in this book... I'm so glad I own it so that I can mark it up and USE it.

One of my favorite things about the book is the number of resource links Shannon puts liberally throughout the book. She gives you the exact web addresses to go and see for yourself and gather more information on the topics covered.

The Knitgrrl Guide is available at but also, if you want the PDF, hardcopy, or e-reader versions, all three are available at Cooperative Press.

Hear Shannon interviewed on the YarnThing Blog Talk Radio Show, available free on archives.

Friday, July 16, 2010

CGOA conference 2010 Part 5

I promise, I'm almost done with the conference photos. Above is me with Tech editor, designer, teacher Susan Lowman
With designer, Rebecca Velasquez...remember her name, folks.
Karen Whooley and me after her Top-Down Raglan sweaters class. Thanks, Karen!
Kristin Omdahl signing her new book, Crochet So Fine.
A meeting of the minds... lunch! From left front... me, Tammy Hildebrand, Carol Alexander (editor of Crochet Magazine), Kimberly McAlindin, Brooklyn Yvonne, and Melissa.

Tomorrow... A Special Saturday installment of GoCrochet... A review of Shannon Okey's new book, the Knigrrl's Guide to Professional Knitwear Design.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CGOA conference 2010 Part 4

Me with the legendary author and free-form Master, Margaret Hubert. I was thrilled to model her prize winning piece in the Fashion Show Saturday night.
My other roomie, Rebecca Velasquez and Margaret Hubert. I was thrilled to meet both of them. Rebecca has had designs published in Inside Crochet (in the UK), Petite Purls, and she had a design in the TNNA Fashion Show this past June for Bijou Basin Ranch.
Me with the showstopping Vashti Braha. Vashti designed the Tokyo Jacket among many other great things. She also had a prize winning shawl in the CGOA Design Contest with a gorgeous white Tunisian Mohair confection.

Professional Development Day was Wednesday. I took a class on how to measure your gauge for knitting accurately. As I suspected, I learned some things about knitting and added to my experience for crochet.
Thursday night is when all the winners of the CGOA Design Contest were announced. The top photo is of me with my entry, the "Make me blush Halter top". The entries were really phenomenal. Some of the entrants use the entire year to craft their projects for the contest. $5000. in prize money was awarded. More tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CGOA conference 2010 Part 3

Professional Development day seemed like a huge success! Here I am with Kristin Omdahl, Robyn Chachula and Kimberly McAlindin.
Kristin still looks gorgeous after a long well the ponytail went up... a clear sign of being tired!
Kimberly and Cari Clement, director at Caron yarn and Naturally Caron. Kimberly is wearing a design made especially for her for the event by Tammy Hildebrand. Cari is wearing a Bruges Lace shawl, I believe designed by teacher, tech editor, designer, Susan Lowman.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CGOA conference 2010 Part 2

Wednesday morning of the Knit and Crochet Show was Professional Development Day for the CGOA.

Robyn Chachula, the Professional Development chairperson, introduced the day and asked me to speak briefly (and spontaneously, I might add) about the Mentor program. Then author, designer, Kristin Omdahl, spoke about her journey into designing. Her second book, Crochet So Fine debuted at the conference and her third book, a knitting one this time, will be revealed very shortly. Her touching story left everyone wiping a tear and happy about her triumph using knit and crochet to finance a life for her and her son.

Lily Chin, author, teacher, designer, spoke about her experience teaching knit and crochet. She has written several books and taught knit and crochet all over the world. She offered some great tips.

The afternoon was split into breakout sessions. Each session was offered 3 times for one hour each. I had the honor of being asked to teach about the 'Business of Crochet'. The photos above are of my first session attendees. Notice there is one row of chairs around the table. By the third session, I had a full two rows of people crowded around and I was thrilled. You know that feeling of throwing a party and briefly you wonder if anyone will show up? Thank you all for coming to my party.

Other topics for the break out sessions were about writing books, teaching challenges, using social media, contract crocheting, design inspiration, designing for publication, etc.

It was a FULL day of information sponsored by Lion Brand who provided breakfast and an afternoon snack. Through out the day, as a group we were able to collect over $900 for research for a cure for Lyme Disease. Also, during the session, attendees made squares for Warm Up America from yarn and hooks donated by Lion Brand.

Monday, July 12, 2010

CGOA conference 2010 Part 1

Yep, I'm home! I'm swamped. But quickly here is a photo of what it is all about...meeting great people who share your passion for crochet and knit. Here I am with Haley who helps me with my Ravelry group, but we've never met! She's wearing her blue version of the Whisper Wrap from the Whisper Wrap CAL. And me, wearing my purple one that I managed to finish (but not block) on the plane. Ok, more to come in the next several days.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Knit and Crochet Show

I likely won't post again until Monday afternoon. While you wait, look at these pretty flowers. I know someone will immediately recognize what they are. They were at a house we visited for a party this past weekend. I love the variation of the colors within the same bush. Really beautiful. Next week I'll be posting about all the Knit and Crochet Show fun. I'm going to try to ignore the computer while I'm gone.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tech editing

Tech Editing is shorthand for "technical editing". Crochet patterns should be "tech edited" before they are published. Magazines and books, yarn companies and most self-publishers, hire a technical editor to re-check all the math in a pattern. They look for and fix errors. They look for the pattern to be written consistently in terms of layout, punctuation and language. The technical editor makes sure the pattern is written in the "style" of the buyer (bold in the right spots, italics in the right spot, items presented in the correct order, etc). For garments, they compare the gauge presented with the measurements that are offered to make sure that the math works. When I self-publish a pattern and say that it has been "professionally tech edited", it means that I hired a person to check all this for me. Usually, unfortunately, it costs more than I am going to make on the pattern. I go "in the hole" with the pattern, but I'm hoping over time and with the quality and timelessness of the design that eventually I will make a profit. So far, that has not happened, but it's critical that a pattern that is for sale be as accurate as I (with help!) can make it.

Thank you dear tech editors, there should be a National "Tech Editor" day in your honor. I have once written an ode to one of my tech editors. The best tech editors are the ones who take the time to teach the designer in addition to "fixing". The more the designer learns, the better pattern is from the beginning the less the tech editor has to "fix" later. When my tech editors take the time to "teach" by offering a tip or note I save those in a file so that I can refer to those notes the next time I write a pattern. Tech editors usually work for magazines and books either 'by the hour' or 'by the project'. If a tech editor submits as huge hourly bill to the magazine because it took so long to "fix" a pattern, that's bad. The magazine/editor/yarn company will notice a trend if the tech editor has to spend gobs of time on a particular designer's work. Moral of the story? Always make your work the best it can be. Mistakes happen, but attempt to keep it to a minimum.

Above is a photo I got off the internet photo search for the Indigo Bunting bird. I have been seeing these little jewels flying around in our area. They are just amazing to see. They zip by so fast all that is left is a streak of electric blue so startling that it makes you say, "Wow, what was THAT?"

Happy 4th of July!