My new companion…

A few days ago.. I am getting into the fridge to get some tomato juice (yes, this is my all time favorite drink), and I see some sort of bug on top of the fridge. I have this thing about bugs in that I catch them and take them outside..

Upon closer look since it was almost camouflaged with the bread wrapper (brown whole wheat)  I see that bug is really big! I estimated about 5 inches long- to me that is a big bug. I get closer and see it is a preying mantis. He turns his head to me cockeyed as if inspecting me.

All the while this is happening, I am on the phone with one my admins from my testing board. I am like, there is no way I am getting close to that thing to catch it! So.. I ask her to look up on the computer (because I did not want to take my eyes off of it) to see if it is dangerous.

First thing she says, it can catch and kill a hummingbird. Yep, ok, do not want this in my house (thinking of my dog and kids). But I also did not want to kill it, and the thought of squishing it just totally  – well, there was no way, it was so big I would get splattered. And how in the heck would I be able to get it from off the fridge??

So then I am thinking, get a chair and maybe catch it in a container. So I ask my admin, Does it jump? And she says, yeah, I think it said they jump. Ok, so container is out of the question.. and no way could I co inhabit my place with a 5 inch bug that can kill a hummingbird.

Ok, the vacuum is what the answer is… I hoped it would survive the journey- as I really did not want to kill it, but was afraid of it biting the kids or my dog. So.. I have my phone on one ear, balance myself on the chair with the vacuum hose. It was going to take some fancy maneuvering as the bug was much longer than the hose opening of the vacuum.

I am standing there, studying it, figuring out my plan of attack, and he is just staring at me, every so often bending his head a bit as if he were even studying me… The admin on the phone says, they have super sonic hearing.. Oh great I think… The minute I turn on the vacuum it will jump onto my shoulder or even worse, my face!

So… I am looking at him, and him at me. He is not moving or looking in the least bit scared. He is not scurrying away like I would think most bugs would do.


I throw on the vacuum and get his hiney into the end of the hose. Vacuum motor is blaring in my ears, and the bug will not move… the vacuum is sucking in all the plastic.. and he is too big for his whole body to get in the hose, and he is gripping on the plastic bread bag with no sign of letting go or coming loose…

So, I grab the bread and toss it on the floor, him still holding onto it. He then scurries onto the carpeted floor.. I aim the vacuum right at him.. nope, sucker is holding on like stone to the carpet.. not an ease of movement from the vacuum…

He then starts to crawl away and STILL he could not go into the vacuum with the suction full blast… he makes his way to under the fridge and well, that was that. Turned off the vacuum in disbelief that a bug outwitted me, or that it has supervacuum feet grippers…

Later that  night my son gets home and I said, we have a preying mantis. He says I know. I said wha?!?! You never told me? he said well it was just sitting there everyday  by the window in the same spot, I thought it was dead..

The next morning, there is the dear preying mantis, again, on top of my fridge on the bread. I wince at him give him a “Hrmph” and get out my tomato juice. I hop on the computer to start reading about this little guy..

I was dumbfounded. There are people who raise the preying mantis as a pet! I saw photos with kids holding them, like a cricket or ladybug. Another story how people buy them to help with bugs (like ants and such).. I am starting to like this little guy (but of course am not going to let him know that yet). No carriers of disease… another plus. No known negatives of this bug. Another good plus. No evidence of them ever being harmful to humans (unless really provoked, and the bite is very minor)..

I go to my fridge.. made a deal. Told him, he needed to eat moths and ants and if he did I would let him stay. So, I can really say, after I tried to kill little Henry, we have become close and are now bonded. So each morning, I say hi to him above my fridge.. I tell him he needs to keep eating bugs.. Can’t believe knowing what I know now that I almost killed him! Thanks goodness for those super soles of feet..

Despite my liking of this new house companion, I do not dare touch the bread – until I absolutely have to. One of these days will get a photo of Henry :)

Well, on another note, the 5 swatches or so I sent out, looks like 3 of them are accepted! (Yay). The yarn has already arrived, and I have begun working… I have also been working on putting things into testing, to get more things on the website..

I think I am running out of testers lol.. I have so many things in testing, but it is needed. It has been so long since I have put anything on the website since all of this publication submission time has been going on… A lot of testers are full too with the testing, one even said today, it is beautiful but I have too much on my plate! I guess I need to slow down.. but just trying to stay ahead and catch up at the same time.. lol is that even possible? Catching up from all the time I have not had a launch, and stay ahead, so that I always have something new in testing! Maybe??

My place has taken a back seat.. I REALLY need to do laundry – but who can do laundry when it is in the 90s and 100s?? This heat wave needs to go away. This August has been excruciating!

Also, on another note.. I participated in a swap a while back.. and I received my box from my partner! Thank you Loopey! Here is what she sent:

-beautiful caplet/shawl.. I will love wearing this, and it is oh so soft!

A lovely soft kerchief.. I LOVE to wear kerchiefs in my hair, so this is perfect :)

Little goodies, nail files, foot notes, stationary, and  post card and a lovely card  from her :) And a sweet little green and white tote/purse to hold everything in :)

A belt! This looks like it took so much time! I love the colors, and it is going to look gorgeous on!

Thank you so much Loopy! It was a great swap and I love everything you sent.. and you are silly thinking you did not do enough… I am blown away with how much effort and time you put into this! Thank you so much :)

Busy Little Bee

Well, I have been a busy little bee… worked on about 5 swatches as proposals this weekend for a company. I just love it when I am swatching and I come up with something entirely new.. Actually, swatching is one of my most favorite things to do..

Sometimes, I already have the idea in my head.. and then other times, I just take hook and yarn and swatch. Usually something transpires that can be turned into something grand.. It just all depends on the yarn. The drape (though that can be somewhat changed by hook size), the fill factor, as I call it. I could take 2 yarns, and obtain the same number of sts per inch. But they can look totally different.. like thread, lacks the fill factor.. a mohair, lots of fill factor.. a plush will have more of a fill factor than your regular acrylic yarn.

With my designs, at least, the fill factor, drape, colors available, etc. play important roles that will affect what the finished project will be. Then from there I swatch different stitches, suitable to what I think the project will end up being. Sometimes, I dive straight into swatching, as sometimes a surprise may come up, which ends with something unique I would not have thought of before hand. I guess in a way sometimes I have a backwards way of designing??

I am still so excited, waiting for the Interweave issue this winter to come out! I am sure Interweave will do a fantastic job with the photography. I had never thought about it before, as this will be my first publication, but I now think, wow I can’t wait to see what it looks like on the model!! This publication time in my career has opened a whole new world of thinking, and writing, amongst other things.

Each publication company has their own style of writing, own way of condensing. I now think, before designing, will this be something for the website, or something for submission. Of course, something for the website can always be “translated” into something for submission. But I now take that into account, as to save me time later when editing my patterns. I can always add information, and I can always cut information, it is the time factor that I think about. So I have to sort of “balance” in my initial writing, in case I may change my mind and add something to the website or decide I would like to submit it somewhere.

Well, time for me to get back to swatching! So much to do, and alas, so little time!

Winners to the drawing

I recently held a drawing event on the Crochet Garden website. First place, is a $20 gift card, and second place is a $5.00 gift card. The winners were drawn at 12:01 AM on Monday and they are as follows:

First Place: Holly S. of Spokane, WA
Second Place: Steffin W. of Annabella, UT

Your gift cards will arrive within 72 hours to your email.

Congratulations! I hope to have more drawings and promotions on the website regularly. In fact, there is something that will be fun coming up that I will be devising.. so stay tune for that.. Individuals can work together, or in teams and share the prize… More on that though later as I develop the idea more :)


This weekend only, there will be a drawing on the Crochet Garden website. For each pattern ordered, your name will be entered into a drawing. First prize will be a $20 gift card to the website, and the second prize will be a $5 gift card. Winners will be selected at 12:01 AM central time Monday August 13th and will be posted on the website during the day.

Grrr he said

My son had his “back to school” orientation yesterday. When he got back, being the typical teenager, he shrugged his shoulders when I asked how it went. So I said, “Come, sit! Bond with your mama!” So, my 6’4 son came and crouched down beside me.. He told me it was the same ol same ol.. and I said how are you classes, and he told me he got into every class he wanted to, like Honors English etc. I then asked does he have a lot of friends in his classes.. and he said yeah, so and so in this class and so and so in this class.. and so and so grr in World History. “Grr?” I said.. “Yes, Grrr, so and so in World History.” I asked him why Grrr.. I was completely baffled… and he said “Cause he is the smartest one in the entire county.” And I said what is wrong with that.. and he said, “I wanted to be the smartest one in the class.” (Incidentally, History is one of his favorite subjects).

I told him.. you may be book smart, but you are still extremely smart.. All As and Bs… (Bs from not turning in work, silly kid)… And I reminded him of his ISAC scores.. Those by the way, are the Illinois and Iowa standarized tests and they give % of how he did against kids in the school and kids his same level across the county. The ones across the country he always scores in the 90 plus, and English he scored like 98%! So, I also told him in addition to that, he is also smart in other ways.. very people smart, socially smart, etc..

I do not know if my talk did any good.. it wasn’t like he was depressed or anything, but I know how much he loves history and could imagine how he would feel, that little “grrr” kind of feeling.. but he was happy his girlfriend was in a lot of his classes..

I am so blessed and so lucky, that “these” are his types of problems.. He is such a well rounded, laid back, easy going kid… He is smart, is in choir, has good friends.. is the kind of kids that all the kids like. I do not know what I would ever do if I had the problems that many other parents have… drugs, truancy, back talking etc… I am so very very lucky and am so happy and relieved my son is turning out so well.. I always worried that I would have to endure the nightmare that so many other parents have to go through and my heart goes out to them.

Now if only my son would ask me to learn to crochet???

So I spent the last couple days swatching.. and oh my.. just yesterday when I figured out a pattern stitch for a baby afghan, I realized after about 20 rows, it was doing that slanting thing! You know, where your work begins to slant into a slight trapezoid? Oh how annoying.. so I spent the evening trying to figure out why it was doing it.. something with the stitches.. on one side I always doing a certain sequence of sts, and then on the other size I was doing a different type of sequencing..

Sometimes crochet is like detective work… must look at the “clues” at what is going on that could be contributing to the problem.

Another interesting thing I thought about, which I think is really neat by the way.. to make a pattern shorter.. I noticed often times when working certain patterns, I would come to certain points where the instructions for one row or rnd would need to broken down for each size, or a row will need to be adjusted, which I refer to as a “prep row” for a new pattern sequence (which can sometimes lengthen a pattern). After thinking about that… I figured out that if I worked backwards, I could somewhat alleviate some of this..

I tried out my theory. After sketching out an idea the other day and figuring out my gauge.. I worked on the schematics. Say, for example (in a top to bottom pattern), an edging needs a certain multiple of sts. Instead of working the body based off the chest, and thus then the body not turning out to be the correct multiple of sts, when beginning the body, why not make it the correct multiple so that when the edging comes, the pattern will flow? One may say, well what is the difference between making the adjustment at the beginning of the body rather than at the edging. Well, for me, it makes a huge difference. Since the body usually consists of some sort of design, and usually the top is much more simple. Of course, this idea will not work in all situations, but in some, it would save a lot of written word. I am sure working “backwards” per se would also have other positive effects and this idea could be used for other things..

When I begin to design, sometimes I already have a picture in my mind. Sometimes I do not and it comes to me when swatching. But I really think ALL of my patterns, the written word will only prosper by being more cohesive and smooth if, before I begin writing, work little snippets of all parts of the garment in word form… then I can sort of mold certain instructions so that they will positively impact the next portion.

Anyway.. that was just another one of my thoughts- of when I think too much :P)

Ok.. so now off to swatching on that baby afghan and other things! I will write back later after I figure it out :)

Good morning!

So I was looming around Crochetville the other day.. and someone posted a photo of their Garden Trellis Shawl of mine. It is awesome.. she got First Place! You have to take a look, the thread is here:

Her shawl turned out awesome.. It is interesting to see the results people have with my patterns. And like this, when I see them, I am always like “Wow! I designed that!” When I begin to design something I am always excited… Perfecting it to oblivion, ripping and redoing, to get it perfect. After a while the “giddy” part leaves, and I am like hmmm, somehow I need to make it better. Then after I release it, I am so familiar with it and so used to it. I look at it and I say, hmm wonder if there was something I could have done to make it even better. Then time passes and I start seeing people making the patterns, and that initial surge of excitement returns all over again. It is wonderful… it is like I am brought back to those first days when it was in design.

I do not know why it happens this way… I think when I first started, this is why I put up a gallery of my testers’ and customers’ results. When roaming around, I always looked for other designers if they has photos up.. but could never find any. And that is when the idea transpired, put up the tester and customer results! Then people can see different ways of working my patterns, different colors and embellishments, how different sizes look.. I really think it has been one of my best ideas yet.

I spent the last few days swatching for another editor, and sent those out yesterday. Hopefully they arrive by Monday. As soon as the contract is signed I can give you a bit more info (but again not too much <>). But I must say, one of these publications I am ecstatic about.. it is something NEW, BRAND NEW… something VERY unique and absolutely gorgeous… Currently, they are deciding which colors of yarns to for me to use, and then the order will be put in and I will begin crocheting away. I will keep you all updated on my progress… but this ingenious idea was the catalyst for the other idea- the swatches I worked up and sent out the other day.

I think this is a hard part of publication, not being able to say too much, and saying just enough to let your excitement out… So the agenda for today is more swatching, and working on a few patterns that I need to get into testing. I would like to add more to the website, but it seems like all this publication is coming at once (that is a GREAT thing)! And I hope it continues… I am sure rejections will be in hand. But I am not a pessimist, I am definitely glass full gal!

And I tell you.. when the Winter 2007 Interweave issue comes out- the glass will be overflowing!!! Keep your eye out for it… I think I will end up buying out the newsstand LOL.

Hot Momma!

Where? Interweave Crochet– a hot magazine with exquisite crochet patterns I refer to as “Hot Momma.” If you have not seen this magazine, get it! You will not be disappointed. And you must, MUST get the winter issue. Why? Because there will be one of my patterns in it! Yes. My FIRST publication!

I still cannot believe it. Working with Interweave was truly wonderful and hope to work with them again in the future. Kim Werker and Toni Rexroat have been absolutely amazing. For a while, editors have always been “high up” on the pedestal per se. And being new in the publication industry that I often envisioned being part of, I often worried, would I have too many questions- would this be a good thing, or a bad thing? They could see this as someone who needs “hand-holding,” or they could see this as someone who is detail-oriented and has respect for the individuals she is working with and thus inquires on many aspects of the process.

These ladies are so approachable (what was I worried about??), and never once was I made to feel I was an annoyance. This is one reason why the magazine is such a great success. From the beautiful photography, the absolute harmony of colors and patterns page after page, coupled with their expertise and warm personalities – has made this a truly remarkable experience for me.

I cannot say how many times I did the Happy Dance in my living room.. poor dog >< She hid for fear of her tail being flattened. My pattern will be next to all the other successful, talented designers in the industry.

I really feel designing my patterns on the Crochet Garden website gave me the experience and knowledge I needed to move onto this next step. I just cannot say enough about this fantastic experience.

For other designers, who may feel a bit intimidated, or feel they are not ready… You just have to do it. And yes, I do not have much experience, yet, but I can at least tell you how my first experience went.

The old cliche’ “you never know until you try” is so true. I worked up so many ways when I would speak to my first editor, and you know when that time finally came, none of them transpired. I was myself; I did not hold back my excitement. I had visioned myself being very professional, to the point, and basically monotone. Other times I envisioned another way the first contact would occur. I am who I am.. that is not to say this is slated as an absolute; certain situations warrant appropriate behaviors and execution. Just like in real life, a reputation is built, your “profile.” It is the same in the publication world. This is just the beginning of my entry into the publication world and I have already learned so much, with yet so much to learn. One day I hope to look back on this entry, and say wow, hot momma…. look at that first step I took..

I hope you enjoy sharing this part of my world as I journey down the path of becoming a well known, respected designer.

And for all those who collect my patterns and all others new to my designs, definitely get the Winter issue of Interweave Crochet for my pattern- you can also subscribe to them too!


I am unsure if it is my downfall.. but even as a child, I would have been classified as that “overachiever.” My motivations though were not for good grades.. they it was an intrinsic insatiable need to stand out. Ok, to give you an idea.. in Immunology class, we were to label all the parts of certain body systems.. What do I do? I take out my paper and hand draw 10 systems, color them all with color pencils, very carefully label everything (even using a ruler to underline these labels). Insane?! Yes. I think I spent 30 hours literally on something that should have took 2.

While working on my young adult novel (sci-fi/fantasy), sometimes I will mull over one sentence if the flow is not to my liking. What is it? Perfectionism? Need to achieve? Control? A strong belief that anything is possible? I do not know.. but some things I think we are all born with.. and this is something that is innate to me.. I was given this sense of “taste,” an almost intuitive feeling that I cannot put my finger on- comprised of harmony and flow.

Whatever it is, it is good, and bad. My struggle is achieving efficiency with my patterns… It is getting better and I must keep plugging along. I cannot spend too much time over one dissatisfaction. So now what I do, when something just is not right, or it is taking too long to “make it right” I move to something else and put it aside. Time and time again, this has proved to be the solution- when I come back, the answer usually comes to me.

Some struggle with writing patterns, some struggle with the design.. I struggle with something that looks perfect in all other eyes except my own. I am just a backwards person. lol.

Anyway… let me know what you think of the new blog.