Thursday, June 30, 2011


What do I do with all those swatches? Oh, bad kitty, sitting on all my swatches.
There are good swatches and bad swatches, big swatches and little swatches.  Generally, I attach the swatch when I make a proposal for a project.  If the buyer wants the project, I don't get the swatch back.  That means that I have either make a second swatch to keep, or I have to have a GREAT photo or instructions of it so I can make it again.  Swatches that I don't submit, generally those are approximations toward getting the swatch right.  I might unravel those to get an educated guess on how much yarn the motif will need.  Ugly swatches either get thrown out or get thrown out.  If I'm still thinking there is potential, I'll keep swatches in a basket to see if it inspires me later.  Swatches for items that become projects, if I happen to have it, I'll put in the file with the contract/instructions/invoice and stuff.  Sometimes if I've grown attached to it, I tack it to my cork-board over my desk.  I can always use them as coasters, right? Under cool glasses of water in the summer?  Put them under the legs of the dining table to protect the wood floor? 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Note to self: When in need of inspiration...

Take a Class!

Even one that you think you've heard all before!  You never know when the teacher will say something in a way that makes you see things from a new perspective.

 Another way to get inspiration? Go to the Professional Development Day or any of the events of the Knit and Crochet Show!  There will be 2 this year.  Here is a photo of last year's Professional Development day. On the left in purple, Amy Shelton (CGOA President, co-founder Crochetville), I'm sorry, I'm failing to recognize the lovely ladies in teal and green, Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby, with Tracie Barrett in the yellow, and poor Rebecca Velasquez's face got cut off.  Sorry Rebecca!

I'm speaking at the PDD in Minneapolis next month!  I'll be talking about taking your designs from ordinary to extraordinary! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sewing: Little Zipper Pouch

 Following Brett Bara's Tutorial on Design Sponge, Chickee made the Little Zippered Case. We did it together, allowing me to learn too.

The Original Creative Festival

Here I am a the Original Creative Festival this past weekend.  Thanks to the South West Ohio Crochet Guild for sharing the booth (and their brownies) with me!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Friday!

I'm headed to the Original Creative Festival in Cincinnati, OH today and tomorrow. Here Chickee knits with needles by Boye that were in my TNNA Designer Dinner Swag bag.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hexagon Thing CAL

Ok, here's the proposed Hexagon. Do you like it? Does that make you want to change your poll answer one way or another? I think you can change your vote.  The instructions are currently with the stitch diagramist getting a drawing made.

What do you want to make? Wait! Don't tell me!  It could be a scarf or skirt, or a cowl, you could make a baby poncho, or a grown-up poncho or garland, or an ornament, or.... use your imagination! 

We'll start the CAL, as soon as possible. I'll keep you posted on when the pattern PDF is available for purchase. In the meantime... will you use your scraps? will you buy new yarn?  What colors will you choose? Will you choose multi-colors or a solid?  If you use wool, remember the felting factor.  The swatch is in 100% wool, worsted weight, Universal Deluxe.  Will you use worsted weight? What about a bigger or smaller fiber? Oh! what about thread and make it a necklace?  Or sport weight and make it a cuff....  It's up to YOU!  And it's a Mystery to me!  Once the pattern is up, you can start a project page on Ravelry and start uploading photos. 

Can you "see" the hexagon shape? Make a imaginary line from the long "points" all the way around and the outline is a hexagon.  What does it look like to you? A flower? A snowflake? Will that influence your yarn and color choice? Oh this is so exciting!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Review

I did an interview with Marie Segares, The Underground Crafter, who also did a book review. Thanks Marie!  Here's her post.

Blogger is letting me post photos now. We are cat sitting our neighbor's 20-yr old cat. This is Elvira trying to get the best angle for the best ear scratch :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sewing. A new feature.

Chickee and I bought a new sewing machine.  I learned as a girl, but haven't sewn since. Chickee took some lessons until her dear teacher, Dottie, passed away. Well, Chickee still yearns to learn more sewing, so this is the summer we both get a refresher.  The first day the machine arrived, Chickee 'free-styled" two pillows!  Here is Charlie who promptly claimed one of the pillows for his own.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How about a CAL?

Ok, I've got a fun little hexagon motif.  It's "join as you go".  Do you want to see it or do you want it to be a MYSTERY CAL?

I'm thinking that I'll show you the motif, but the Mystery will be on ME!  You decide what the project will be and it will be a surprise to me!

I'll provide a stitch diagram, written instructions, a photo of the motif and offer suggestions on what you can make, but it will be up to you.  You can use your stash, you can go crazy with colors.  We'll talk about it in the Ravelry group and here. You can post your photos on Ravelry, We'll call it "Design your own Hexagon Thing CAL".

I'll put a poll in the side bar.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

TNNA: The Fun and Fun People (more name dropping)

 Here I am with Carol Alexander, Editor of both Crochet! and Crochet World magazines.  She also co-authored this book with Connie Ellison. I wasn't sure if I needed another "how-to" book, so I started flagging pages that I wanted to read over more carefully and soon the book was FULL of flags. More on this in another post.
 Here I am with Doris Chan in the Boye/Simplicity booth.  We had a nice break and a little pomegranate/lime punch.
 A little sneak peek of a top I'm wearing.... with Marty Miller.  Designer/tech editor, crochet leader.
 Me and Robyn Chachula, designer, author, TV personality, stitch diagramist...

 Me with Vashti Braha, designer, professor of crochet, and Simona Merchant Dest, talented designer :)
Marly Bird (designer, creative Director of Bijou Basin Ranch, YarnThing Podcaster), and Jolene Vetterling, assistant extraordinaire. In the background, standing, designer Rebecca Velasquez.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TNNA: The Book Signing

Sunday afternoon at TNNA, the R&M Westcoast enterprises sponsored my book signing.  Interested LYSs were given a reservation ticket early in the show so that they could come back at the designated time and get their signed copy. 
 As you can see, the Brilliant Starburst Project hung on an easel on the right.  During the show, that blanket was on display with a book at the Louet booth, since it is made of Louet Gems yarn.  On the edge of the table is the All Call Blanket, that was displayed during the show in the Lorna's Laces booth.
 Above, Doris Chan modeled my Spring Octagons blanket, which during the show, was in the Plymouth Yarn booth. She was quite comfortable since the show floor was a little chilly.  Actually, I also found Tammy from Louet, curled up in the Brilliant Starburst blanket in the Louet booth.  (There is no better advertisement than seeing someone comfortably ensconced in a blanket!)

Here I am with my Acquisitions Editor, from my publisher, F+W/Krause, Jennifer Claydon.  Jenni and Associate Editor, Rachel, came to visit me and check out the trends.  In the end, ALL the books were given away and orders were placed for the books to be carried in stores. Go check your local LYS and ask if they were one of the lucky retailers to get a free copy and if they will be carrying the book.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TNNA 2011 YarnThing Designer Dinner

Marly Bird organized a Designer Dinner for Friday night at TNNA. 50-60 of the biggest names in the industry gathered to have fun and get acquainted.  Benjamin Levisay, from XRX Publishing and Knitter's Magazine (and the organizer of the STITCHES events across the country) was the primary sponsor of the night.  XRX Publishing provided all the designers with a copy of Gwen Bortner's Book, Entree to Entrelac.

Other sponsors of the night were:  (I know I'm going to forget someone important.. ugh) but here they are in no particular order...

Red Heart
Caron Yarn and Vickie Howell's yarn line
Universal Yarn
Bijou Basin Ranch
Buffalo Wool Yarn Co
Malabrigo Yarn
Lorna's Laces
Random House Books
JHB buttons
Wacky Woolies/Dublin Gift Company
Kraemer Yarn

I love all my great gift goodies, but the Zuma Namaste Bag in Peacock is the one that made me squeal with delight.

 Here I am with designer, Rebecca Velasquez.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Guess who's Talking?

While you all are waiting to hear all the fantastic details about TNNA and all the great new yarns and products that I received.... Guess who is saying nice things about my book... You aren't going to believe this...

(EEP!  Happy Dance!)

Here's the link to the blog entry  
I'm so thrilled that they are carrying the book. Thank you Webs! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fiction & Non-Fiction

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve
It had a fascinating beginning, where every word and nuance seemed important.  A young couple, Margaret and Peter move to Kenya where Peter can be a doctor studying Equatorial medicine.  Margaret, a photographer is somewhat restless.  They meet a couple who encourages them to go on a dangerous hike up Mt. Kenya.  The trip, which seemed ominous, turns out to be full of critical incidents that leave Margaret and Peter off balance. The rest of the book is them trying to cope with the consequences of the trip.  It ended in a very odd (I thought) way that I didn't really expect.  The last two sentences left me somewhat scratching my head, "That's it?"  Still, it was interesting along the way.  It feels like a "literary" book rather than an "entertainment" book, if you get what I mean, but I was still entertained.

The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds (audio)
In the genre of Dan Brown and the DaVinci Code, this book is a CIA/spy/government adventure tale of a librarian and book preservationist, Eve.  Eve conveniently has a martial arts background.... who is framed for the death of her husband.  A stranger comes to get her released from jail if she helps him find the Holy Grail of books, "The Book of Spies".  She meets up with a bunch of interesting characters and seems to have convenient friends all over the world.  The book was a little hard to follow in audiobook form and I probably would have enjoyed it more and followed the story (and all the people and locations) better reading it. Still, I would consider reading more from the author and would recommend it to my husband who would likely enjoy it.

The Girl with the Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace
I didn't get through the collection of short stories on audiobook. The book was too full of "asides" and tangents for me to follow on audiobook. The first story had a very flippant tone.  I almost didn't notice when the first story ended and the second began.  The post of the first story being so weak, more of a ironic caricature than a story.  I didn't bother to listen to the whole thing.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
A mysterious saga bridging 4 generations of how a small English child in 1913 came to be abandoned on a ship bound for Australia.  The lies and twists of fate that brought the great-granddaughter in 2005 to unravel the plot years later.  Along the way, the secrets of the maze and walled English Garden where the child had once resided are unveiled. A long book, probably more than 500 pages, it was very interesting, especially the last 100 pages as the 'Aha!' moments are abundant.  A very good read. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tour Stop: Crochet Mama's Blog

Here's a blog that might be new to many of you. Naida writes the Crochet Mama's Blog. Naida and I have much in common as we are also avid readers.  She also writes a book lover's blog called The Bookworm.  She posted about my book on both of her blogs today.

In today's post, Naida will show you yet anther motif that you may not have seen yet.  It's a hexagon that was one of the very first motifs I designed for the book. Matter-of-fact, I think it was in my original proposal.  She also shows a photo of the Gray/Orange blanket, Reflected Sunlight.  It's a join-as-you go design and something about that octagon motif I just love.  I'm going to have to find another way to use it somewhere.

So, go check out Naida's blogs and her Etsy store, you might find that you've made a new daily stop to your daily blog-reading itinerary.

Thanks Naida!
Today, I'm preparing for TNNA in Columbus.  It's the industry trade show where the yarn manufacturers show off their new yarns and sell them to yarn stores. The event is not open to the public and doesn't have a "market" to sell yarn. It is, however, a very important weekend for me business-wise.  I'll be having a book signing on Sunday, hoping to get LYSs to carry it in their stores.   Next week, I hope to have lots of great new products to show you here on the blog. I have 3 new garments I'll be wearing at the show, you might get a photo sneak peek of them as I show photos from the event. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tour Stop: Laurie Wheeler and the CLF Blog

Laurie has been playing with color! She'll be posting about on the Crochet Liberation Front Blog. The CLF has been doing really innovative things in the crochet community!  The Annual Crochet Awards, they produced their own book, they have organized their own crochet retreat.

I don't have a photo of Laurie because I haven't met her in 'real life' but I'm guessing we'd get along great! Want to hear more about the CLF 'Fearless Leader'?  Read about her here.

Above is the 'Star Power' motif from the motif.  One of a couple of dimensional motifs in the book. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tour Stop: Robyn Chachula

Robyn shows off another of my favorite motifs in today's blog post.  She shows off one with a vintage-y feel to it.  Robyn, several time author (check out her books here) and designer, tv show host on Knit & Crochet Now, crochet teacher and DVD crochet instructor, she does it all.  This past year she has accomplished everything with a toddler and juggling two houses in different states.  Thanks Robyn, for making time to review my book.  Find out what else she found intriguing about the book here on her blog.
From left to right, here we are at Chain Link, last July, me, Kristin Omdahl, Robyn Chachula, and Kimberly McAlindin.

Tomorrow we stop in with Laurie Wheeler and the Crochet Liberation Front Blog.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tour Stop: Tracie Barrett

Designer, Tracie Barrett has graciously agreed to host my book on her blog today!  Tracie is an up and coming designer who has already gotten much attention by being voted 'Best New Designer' by the Crochet Liberation Front, 2008. Her designs have been seen in Interweave Crochet, Crochet World, KnitCircus magazine and on the websites of yarn companies.  Thanks Tracie for hosting, I'll see you in a few days in Columbus!

Here's a photo from last year's CGOA conference, "Chain Link", Tracie is in the front in Purple.

Tomorrow, I'll be visiting with Robyn Chachula at her CrochetByFaye blog.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tour Stop: Kristin Omdahl

Have you been keeping up with the blog tour!  Many of you have! Many of you are discovering some great blogs from terrific designers.

Here's the tour schedule again, including the ones we have already visited so you can go back if you missed one:
5/26 Sharon Silverman's blog
5/27 Karen Whooley's blog
5/31 Linda Permann's blog
6/1 Rebecca Velasquez's blog
6/2 Doris Chan' blog
6/3 Kristin Omdahl's blog
6/6 Tracie Barrett's blog
6/7 Robyn Chachula's blog
6/8 Laurie Wheeler and the Crochet Liberation Front Blog

6/9 Naida and the Crochet Mama's Blog

Today is a visit with the extraordinary Kristin Omdahl. 
Kristin is the author of three already published books (both knit and crochet) and I know she has finished at least one more and is probably got another on deck!  See her list of titles on her front web/blog page.  Kristin is also the crochet expert on the Knitting Daily tv show.
 Above all, I'm honored to be among her friends!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tour Stop: Doris Chan's Blog

Today, on the blog tour... Doris Chan!  Here we are with our pal, Vashti Braha at TNNA last year.  Doris, as usual, doesn't disappoint with her story-telling. She tells about cake and pancakes and how that all relates to how we met and my new book!  How entertaining how she puts it all together!

Tomorrow, we visit Kristin Omdahl.
If you missed it, yesterday we visited Rebecca Velasquez

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Comparing your work to the work of others...

Here's a great little article I just ran across.  Many of you might find it helpful when you get stuck in the mire of comparing your work to that of others. 

Christen Doing the Work

Here's your new motto:  "Create Something"
Chief did a little performance art at the pool the other day. Drawing his skeleton with zinc.  Ah, Fun with Sunscreen. Now, THAT is creative.

Tour Stop: Rebecca Velasquez Designs Blog

Go see what up and coming designer, Rebecca Velasquez is doing.  Here's the link to her blog.  But to really see her designs, the best way to see the already-published ones are here on her Ravelry page.

Today on her blog, she is graciously talking about Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook! She'll be talking about some crafty things to do with motifs if you don't want to make a blanket. Thanks Rebecca!

TOMORROW, the entertaining Doris Chan will be talking to you about Blueberry Pancakes and what that has to do with my book.