My Dirty Little Secret

Local creamery, antibitoic & hormone free milk, and CHEAPER than the store brand milk!

Local creamery, antibitoic & hormone free milk, and CHEAPER than the store brand milk!

Is this a crochet post? No. But, something about me, and maybe even you. It is my dirty little secret, and maybe yours too.

Everyone has one. Some more than one.. and some say they do not have a secret, but I bet they do…  I did mention my “dirty little secret” in a past post, very subtly, without any explanation or elaboration.

Anyway…. Since most of my social life (not all) is on the internet, or well  work-life:  talking with testers, fellow designers.. editors etc. Most have had no idea about the secret – thus is that of the internet world. We can be who we want, pretend to be who wish to be…

Most of you who have read my blog over the last few years, and the old blog before I moved here.. know that naturally, I am pretty health conscious. I still have weight to lose, but for the most part, I have always ate healthy.

I buy antibiotic & hormone free milk. Heartland Creamy is what we get- aren’t the glass bottles so cool? I get a buck fifty back on each when returning the bottle.. I have kept a few, so I filter water, then pour the water in a couple of bottles. There we go, no plastic leaking chemicals into my water stored in the fridge.

Teavana Tea

Teavana Tea

Even before the big green movement, I was big on greens, big on buying organic and local… my pancake mix has always been whole wheat. Though I drink lots of coffee, I drink lots of green tea, as well as my yerba mate. Gotta love the Yerba Mate, though I have to admit, I think I like the taste of green tea better. And you know what rocks?

Two years ago my sister and her now husband got me some tea.. This place is so awesome, you can even mix different varieties to get that perfect tea! These little tin cans are resuable too and can store future purchases of tea..

Check it out, there are even little flowers in this Rose Garden tea. MMMmmm… Check out the Teavana website, in case you do not have one in a town near you (like me).

Tea closeup

Tea closeup

So anyway. How could someone be so healthy, yet have this dirty little secret? How could this person, who eats her veggies, is health conscious, almost neurotic to a point where she had a field day with her daughter’s preschool teachers for turning an eye to paint fumes infiltrating the building from another room, do anything that could definitely harm?

I am not sure. But life is full of oddities. Well what is this secret? Knowing Fire Child’s and Water Child’s teachers sometimes read this blog… knowing work-related friends and occasionally read here.. Is the reason why I have never mentioned.. nor ever felt a need to.

So what is this dirty little secret that I have been carrying around? I used to smoke.

Some may be mortified. Other may be like, “who cares.” Either way, it is subjective to each person if it really qualifies as a “dirty little secret,” and to me, it does. Some people will smoke to oblivion and blow the smoke right in your face and not give a hoot.. Some, do not bring attention to it and just a few people close to them know. Others hide it completely – closet smokers. I was in the middle.. I tried to only smoke when by myself, and only those select few people who either smoked themselves or that I felt at ease enough to smoke around and did not mind it.

I never ever thought I would be able to quit. I really didn’t. I was such a slave to them. Whenever I would go out, had to make sure I had a pack on me… Before I went to sleep, had to make sure I had some for the morning. If I had to go on a plane, my first thought was NOT would I crash (yes I have a tiny fear of planes), but rather, my first thought was, oh no how long would I have to go without a cigarette for.

Ah! How I polluted myself.

For the past couple of years, I had in my head that I wanted to quit before my birthday this past year (my bday was in December). Of course I put it off for as long as I could. For the last 4 years, I had wisdom teeth issues. To the point that I was taking advil on a daily basis, actually more like 3-times-daily basis. Finally, a dentist opened up that would accept my card, and scheduled an appt to have them looked at. He said 1 definitely needed to come out and would talk about the others later. I said fine. So the tooth extraction was set for Nov 18th.

I think I had the living kajeebers scared out of me, as people said NOT to smoke, it would cause dry socket. Well, I had a decision to make.. I decided that would be my quit day, as I could not smoke for 48 hrs. This was all on a whim. Had I not had that appt, I am not sure I would have really set a date.

From my mother's garden

From my mother's garden, that I will REALLY be able to smell this summer

I decided that to make it easier, I would use the patch. The last couple of times I tried to quit (which lasted for a day), I had horrible mood swings, to the point I was even scolding myself for something petty. That was my strongest withdrawal symptom – mood. Not cravings, not headaches, etc.. For me, it was my mood. No patience.. maybe it was psychological and I needed something to take it out on that I could not have a cigarette and so it just boiled up even more in my head.

So, the day arrived. I had my last cigarette before going in. Like, maybe 3 mins before going in. He takes my tooth out, packs it, out I go. In an instant, ALL of the pain I had in my moth was gone.. gone gone gone. My daily advil ritual ceased right then and there. I went home, and an hour or two later, put on the patch.

Could not believe it, no withdrawal, no no nothing. This is easy I thought.

Well, it did not last long. By the 5th day, I had to remove the patch. My bones (yes my bones) in my arms could not handle it. They ached.. to the point my arm would just dangle as it was too painful to even raise my hand. I guess joint or bone pain is a possible side affect, and my body did not take it in stride, at all.

So I took the patch off, but did not have a cigarette. There were no mood swings. There were some cravings. By the first month, most of those diminished. Now, only into the 3rd month, I never think about them. I never get the “oh I really want one.” No cravings. In fact, I cannot stand the smell of smoke now. I never ever ever thought I would be this way, as I was a smoker and I really liked my cigarettes :)

I know I will never smoke again. One of Water Child’s friend’s mother is a smoker, big time. I told him next time to bring a set of clothes here I can wash and keep for him when he comes over so he can change into.. because the stench just lingers, and lingers…

Yerba Mate Tea, check out those antioxidants!

Yerba Mate Tea, check out those antioxidants!

Even in the store, in an instant, I can tell if someone is a smoker.. or was around smoke recently. The post office is the worse.. for some reason that place when a smoker walks in, the smell is intensified. No idea why.

I feel like a new person.. It is so different being able to go somewhere and not have to check to be sure I have my smokes. I feel clean. It is healthier for me. And though I never smoked indoors, I am sure it lingered on my clothes.. So it is healthier for Water & Fire Child.

I now feel like I can do anything. I even told my mom.. if she decided to quit, I would move in with her for a month to get her through it. I think she is seriously taking me up on that offer :) I hope she does.

Sorry so long winded.. It is  just such a big thing to me, that I actually did it. I really, really did it. And I know because I told  myself I would not announce it anywhere until I was 100% sure I was a quit done never smoke again.

Child’s Play – A New Idea

I do not think I ever mentioned, but Fire Child is a little artist. She loves to be creative – from playing with yarn, to painting oceans. (By the way, she turned 4 not too long ago). I remember one instance, at Christmas time, we were watching a tv special, a santa one, and she saw the reindeer flying. Although a totally different situation, still the same completely… She said “I need to go draw a reindeer!”  I watched her very adamantly get off the couch with a confirmed little gallop to her desk. A few moments later, a new masterpiece – a sleigh of reindeer.

A Butterfly

A Butterfly

I saw myself.. I could be in the middle of dishes, and all of a sudden, see a design in the bubbly water, and jump to the living in my yellow rubber gloves and sketch out the picture in my mind – yellow gloves still there, little droplets of water span the paper – but my newest idea for a masterpiece…

So.. this new idea came to me, to involve my daughter…  Why not design a design together? Maybe it is crazy… but what better way to really create a memory, or even a design, than an icon of her present mindset?

Her drawings are so free… Sure, maybe not proportionate… Sure, maybe silly colors or little scribbles in unexpected places. But that is where the magic unfolds…  Her mind, unmolded, her eyes, visions unrestrained…  Completely undisturbed. I see her focus, but only so slightly… as her crayons move as swiftly as her mind, but with fluidity.

A Unicorn

A Unicorn

Whether it be intarsia… or bobbins. So many ways to have color work play into an afghan… or onto anything really for that matter. Why not incorporate some of Fire Child’s art? I can see a little afghan with maybe large squares… each having a design within it… Or maybe a large afghan with a picture on it. Maybe, a little purse, with a butterfly cross stitched on it.

An Elephant

This line of patterns would be entitled “Child’s Play?” or maybe “Through A Child’s Eyes?” Now, wouldn’t it be neat… to maybe come up with some 12 X 12 squares… for charity purposes? I think I may just do that.. Come up with a couple of squares, with Fire Child’s designs incorporated into them..

Maybe one of her flowers… Maybe one of her puppies… Now I do not think that has been done before! And what a personal touch it would be to have that kind of square added to an afghan… What do you think?

Unicorn, with wings wearing a necklace, smelling a flower. Drawn on computer.

Unicorn, with wings wearing a necklace, smelling a flower. Drawn on computer.

Yes.. we must think outside of the box.. Guess sometimes I fall off the box :) Sometimes it takes me a little while to get back. And yes, I can hear my brother saying “oh no.. here she goes with another idea…” But it is unique, is it not?? I think it would be incredible.. Of course with many ideas, there is always tweaking needed…

I think she would love it as well… I have a large bin that I keep each and every one of her “masterpieces” in. And each day, about 10 more are added, and some days, many many more…

What is so great, is that the drawings are perfect! It is the imperfections that make them perfect… And that is why they are so suitable to put on an afghan.. to put on a square.. to put on a tote or lapghan.. Each one has its own character, its own personality. I don’t know about you, but I would love to have something not machine generated… but something intrinsic, unique, and perfect from imperfectness – and what better than from the mind of a child?

Niters all!

So like, it was cold. Oh, and a new pattern!

Well, we got hit again, of course… The cold.. oh so very cold. The other day woke up and it was reading 52 degrees in the house. Called the landlord. We had 2 pipes frozen… even the dog’s water bowl was frozen solid, if that tells you anything! So he came over, and we worked on defrosting the pipes (they froze despite leaving the water dripping, etc).

So, finally, we have water, yay! I put the oven on to get at least some relief from the cold. Landlord is going to get someone to put some insulation in the basement celing (you see, the floorboards are open to the basement, at least somewhat.. you can see speckles of light when peaking through)!

Yesterday, no water. Today, no drainage. Yeah, can you believe it? The drains are now frozen! But I do have running water.. :) Just no where to put the running water! When it rains, it pours, when it pours, it overflows.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 30s.. thank goodness… I am not fond of this frigid cold. I do like cool weather, much more than heat (oh how I really hate humidity in the summer).. but this cold, was too cold.. even the dog can attest to that!

So I am rushing, 2 deadlines looming, for 3 projects to be made, designed, worked up… and one of my testers posts about seeing one of my patterns in a newsletter… (Thank you Carolyn!!!!)

I was wondering what had happened with this pattern! I sent it to Caron, thinking first, it would be on the tear sheets in Walmart (maybe it will be still), and then thinking it would be in a magazine.. Well, tonight alas, I find it to be on the Caron website!

I really love this pattern! It is simple, fun and quick.. You can work it while watching tv, with only an occasional glance at the TV. The color possibilities are endless..

What do you think…

Circles, Stripes & Squares

Circles, Stripes & Squares, for Caron International

Circles, Stripes & Squares, for Caron International

I really wanted something simple, but not plain and boring… Something fun, that when you smile at it, it really does smile back.

It says, come snuggle with me and we will play and giggle the afternoon away.. See what I mean, I tell you, my patterns have stories to tell!

Anyway, this pattern is available for FREE. It is on the Caron website.. and here you go in case you want to queue it on Ravlery

Circles, Stripes & Squares for Caron International

This blanket was made using Caron international’s Simply Soft Eco. I really love this yarn. It is just as soft as their regular Simply Soft line..

But what is nicer, is that this consists of recycled plastic bottles – something like every 10 skeins saves 6 bottles. So now, make your creations, while helping the environment! I really love the colors too in this line. First, so many to choose from… Second, they all go together so well. The colors in this afghan reminds me of Taffy… doesn’t it? Maybe that is the “fun” part of the giggles story… Just like at a carnival with popcorn and taffy…  It is almost like a color glow.. if you look at the large motifs, how the stripes of green pink and purple seem to have a glow-like effect against the yellow background, doesn’t it?

Some people have been concerned about the yarn showing some kind of “lint” in some of the colors. I have not found this to be problematic. The company Caron explained this is not lint or any type of “dirt.” It is part of the recycled material. I personally have not found this to be problematic. I have seen it in some of the skeins, and it seems more pronounced than in others – for what reason I am not sure. But the yarn is definitely just as soft, and the colors just as remarkable as the the Simply Soft line. If I were you, I would give it a try. I was pleased with how the yarn felt in my hands, how it worked up, and the end result :)

Anyway, be sure to let me know if you make this blanket. I would love to see what colors you choose and see how it turns out! And for those of you looking for easy patterns, this is definitely one of the few I have designed that are skill level Easy! :)

Niters.. off to visit the sandman.

Criticize My Submission Proposal!

Blossoming Beauty Sundress

Blossoming Beauty Sundress

Have you always wondered what other designer’s submissions look like? Are you a new designer wanting to submit something somewhere? Are you a seasoned designer, but with a curiosity of how others “do it?” Are you a customer who always wondered what all of this is about? Maybe at some point you have pondered about what this process entails.

I put myself out in the open here, and show and describe one of my first proposals in my career. But first, I wanted to talk a little but about submitting a proposal.

There are many ways to make a proposal when submitting a design. Some companies have their own guidelines. First, just like a job interview, you research the company. I repeat, do your homework. Find out if there is indeed a procedure to follow when submitting. Some companies may have a set file or email that they will pass on to you that spells everything out – what to do, how to do it, and in what order. Some companies, especially yarn companies, can vastly differ in procedures.

Here are some things to think about…

Is there an editorial calender?

Some companies may have what kind of themes they have going for each issue, from projects sought, sometimes right down to the colors. Some companies have no calendar.

Do they want just a swatch, or an entire project?

Some companies, and this seems to be more often lately, want a swatch, but accompanied by a sketch. (More on sketch/swatch proposals this later in this post). It makes sense, that most companies want a sketch (nothing elaborate) of your basic idea. This can be simple stick figure drawings, simple squares, triangles. No need to go to art school. Something basic to convey your idea across.

Anything you send – whether a swatch or a full garment, if you want it back, do include return postage! If anything, to me, in my little opinion regardless whether it is required or not, it is only courtesy. And do not forget your address! The outside box may be tossed upon opening.

So anyway, many companies to request a swatch to be included in your submission. The swatch is for them to see the execution of your design. They most likely are asking many questions whilst examining your swatch:

1. How is the drape? If they are seeking a nice drape, skim-the-body slinky tunic type of garment, and your swatch is in a tight sc stitch, this would most definitely need to be remedied.

2. Is this stitch appropriate for the design? Choosing an open work lace scarf accompanied with the description of it being a warm scarf to protect from the elements would not mesh. Either the stitching would need to change, or the description and practicality of the scarf would need adjustment.

3. Is this fiber appropriate for the design? When making garments for babies and toddlers, think comfortable. Do not choose an itchy wool (unless of course we are talking soakers. Although not always, it is nice for things to be machine washable for these little ones. Is this a bikini to sunbathe in, or to actually swim in? If to swim in, forgo the cotton- unless these are intended for swimming exhibitionists! (Cotton will sag… sag, sag, sag….). If this is a summer top, do not use alpaca! Yes, it is sooo soft, but eh, unless you are looking for a substitute of those losing-weight-sweatin’-space-suits…

4. Not only is the stitch and fiber appropriate for the design, is the stitch and fiber a happy couple? For example, if you are creating cablework, working in a variegated yarn will take away from the stitch detail. If you are aiming for a lacy affect, thinner yarns are more effective than heavier yarns, as well as using a larger hook than usual. If working cables, is this the best fiber to really show the definition?

Will they accept emailed photos?

I think this will soon come to be the norm, or at least accepted simultaneously alongside with snail mailed swatches, especially how everything is going digital and everywhere you go, technology is catching up, or well, people are catching up.

Deadlines?

Even freelance designing you have deadlines. Learn their deadlines for submissions if they have them, and respect them. Be on time.

______

The bottom line is do your research. You will not caught off guard if you know what is expected and you do it, conforming to their wishes. Treat it like any job interview. It is after all, a job, and like in the real world, it is their impression of you – make it a strong one!

Proposal from 2007

Proposa

DISCLAIMER:

This proposal example and this post is NOT a “How to submit a crochet design.” Do NOT not Not NoT think that.

The purpose of this post is for you to think for yourself and to give you the opportunity to compare, and then examine your own procedures, past experiences, and future encounters. You are to actively decide for yourself what you would do, what you would not do… Think about what you would do better, and what you can improve upon.

You should not be reading this post passively as though it is the grail to proposals, absorbing each and every word through osmosis! Be critical. Say it how it is. What is wrong? What is right? If you have never submitted before, what would you definitely not do?  There are things knowing what I know now, I would change. Some things I would keep, others not. Be an active reader in this, and criticize not only me, but be critical of yourself (in a constructive way).

Ok… so here is one of my submissions that I just happened to find last night and took some photos of this morning. Not that I was looking for it.. my place is in a disarray, as usual, and I looked down and there it was. A little beaten up, but still functional for tonight’s purpose :)

Submission Background Info: This was my second submission, ever. I never had any advice how to submit a proposal, what to include, etc. My first submission proposal was similar to this.

This submission was to a magazine, and it was one of I think 2 in the same package. One submission was accepted, with this one being held onto for a possible future publication. Eventually, this dress was sent back to me with the nice rejection letter, but with another design chosen in its stead.

As you see, I have numbers scattered all over the place. Here is a little synopsis of each area that I included.

The size of paper I chose for this was about the size of 2 standard sheets of paper. It was a poster board weight.

#1: Stapled unstitched samples of yarn to proposal page

#1 Samples of yarn attached to proposal

#1 Samples of yarn attached to proposal

What I would do again:

I would give swatches of the yarn again of what I used in my example. When not stitched, the editor can see (and you know, all us creative types feel with our hands) it in its lone state. He/she can study the yarn, in case he/she would like to substitute. And, I think it just looks nice and professional. Most likely, the editor is familiar with the yarn your swatching with, but to me, it never hurts to be a little detailed.

What I would not do again, or do differently:

Instead of stapling it to the paper, I think I would staple it to an index card, and then tie that to the garment/swatch, and then write on the index card the yardage, weight, color(s), etc. But then again, maybe not, I do not see this as being a detriment if this were to go on the proposal itself.

#2 Wrote down material properties & size of model

Yarn proposed/used in swatch, size

Yarn proposed/used in swatch, size

Here you see I wrote down the name of the yarn I used, the amount in yards and grams per ball, and the size of the model. You may not have a model size, as most often, a swatch and a sketch will be sent. But sometimes, you may have the model complete, for whatever reason, and I would include this information.

What I would do again:

I would definitely give the information on the ball/skein, such as the amount of yards and grams. I would also definitely include the size of the model (s).

What I would not do again, or do differently:

To include next time

To include next time

Looks messy to me :) I think I would just present it in a more concise manner. For example, underlining “Sample Size” as I did to the name of the yarn. I would also maybe make a list such as what is shown to the right.

I am thinking maybe more along the lines the feel of a real pattern already in the making, but not. As you know, patterns at the beginning list the materials, sizes, etc. So I would think it would be best (unless otherwise instructed to you by a company) to include vital information, and then some.

Why? Well, it could be that I am highly detail oriented so much that I can be anal retentive this way… And it could very well be my tendency to be a perfectionist. But I think about if I did the accepting and rejecting. I would want to know some information. I would want to know the designer is intimate with his/her project. I think this also conveys confidence, and a willingness to get things right. If anything, what can it hurt? Maybe that last line is a copout – but only for the quick and hasty who just “want to get it done.”

#3 Wrote down color number of each yarn used, usage, written directly below corresponding to yarn sample.

Color numbers, amounts used

Color numbers, amounts used

What I would do again:

If I had the project completed, I would definitely write down the amount of yarn used. If I only had a sample, I would give an estimate, if I felt confident. If anything, a range of an estimate. In one of my publications of another source, they took into account the amount it would cost the consumer to make the project. In the end, they chose a different yarn to be more budget-friendly. This is not always the case. If anything, it gives an editor an idea of the amount needed, for whatever reason- and hopefully ordering reasons! :)

What I would not do again, or do differently:

If I could, I would estimate the amount needed for other sizes.. but then this would be pushing it, and is not really needed.

#4 What is included in set, sizes, skill lvl, uniqueness, versatility

Information about project

What's included, sizes, skill lvl, uniqueness, versatility

What I would do again:

Include all the information. I do like how I underlined certain words, to bring attention to them.  Just as in example #2, I would make a list, underline, or somehow bring emphasis to the title (such as Sizes, Skill, etc) in a list form, and then fill in the information.

One thing that I really like and ALWAYS do is include versatility of the garment, and what makes it unique.

Unique: I firmly believe this is so important! Ask yourself this, what makes your project different. What makes it stand out. What did you do that is clever, catchy, or off the beaten path per se? That I know will catch the eye of all editors. A common theme I have seen, is they want something different. And this does not necessarily mean something crazy and totally off the wall (though it could), but basically, what makes your design not a “run of the mill” design?

Versatility: When it comes to getting published, or anything in life, flexibility.. with adaptability is the key. What I try and do with my projects whenever possible, is include how the pattern can be changed. Whether it is the sizes included, the number of colors used (for example – This pattern colorwork can use any multiple of number of colors except for 3 – Such as was the case with my Borealis pattern).

What I would not do again, or do differently:

Make it neater, and more organized.

#5 Swatch

Here, I stapled a swatch. Always include a swatch. For this, I included a finished flower applique in addition for examination. Since it was small, I wanted it affixed to the proposal. I think this worked just fine, but would not with a larger swatch, as it would make handling the proposal paper bulky and thus awkward. Some may omit this and assume just a swatch of the main stitch is enough, but for me, I like to go that little extra mile, if at all possible.

#6 Extra Info

Additional Info

Additional Info

Here I included extra information such asthe dress can be worn many seasons, a sundress in the summer, and a jumper with a top underneath in the fall. The button straps make it adjustable (another plus).  The band of flowers around the dress match the band of flowers around the hat…

What I would do again:

I would include all all of this information

What I would not do again, or do differently:

I do like how I underlined many key words – “adjustable,” “match,” “jumper.” But, I think I would again, make it flower better and organize it. Some of these could be included in the section on what makes this pattern stand out, what makes it unique.. what are its highlights… I guess one thing I had going was the columns?

#7 Include sketches

Sketch of purse/bag

Sketch of purse/bag

When you do not have the entire garment/project made, do include a sketch. We are talking basic shapes. Many may even look at this little sketch of mine, and theirs will either pale in comparison, or blow mine out of the water. Now this I do know.. ask any editor – they are not grading artwork! They just want a basic idea of what you are proposing.

What I would do again:

Always include sketches

What I would not do again or do differently:

Draw the sketch bigger.

#8 Include contact info

Contact info

Contact info

Include your name, address, and email. I used one of those address labels, and then added in my email addy. Include as much contact info as you wish, but I definitely do recommend at least an email, and then definitely an address if you want your proposal back!

#9 Model in action

Printed photos

Printed photos

I have no idea if this is a standard, but this is what I did. I included photos (I printed off my printer) of a model in the dress and hat. I thought it would help to see the fit, see the sizing, to see the model live. To get it all to fit on one paper, I stapled it like a booklet, but binding on opposite side (I got creative:)) Now, this most definitely will not be possible with designs that are not complete. But, if you have a prototype of a hat, or mittens, or even a scarf, I would put it on someone and take a photo. This is just my opinion and something I did for an added factor to the proposal.

IN CONCLUSION

I am sure most companies would want a proposal on a regular 8 X 11 sheet of paper. Again, this was one of my first submissions. It is nice though to go back, and analyze it, and think about what I would do differently… What I would do again. If anything, it folded nicely, and opened like a book! I thought at the time that was pretty creative!

You may have learned a lot. You may have learned nothing. Your proposals may have blown mine away. There are some general characteristics that good proposals include.. but really- you are the true authority. What???? You may be saying…

Ultimately, who sends in that proposal? You.

You need to research. There is no fail-safe-fill-in-the-blank template for you to make the perfect proposal. What one editor prefers can be the complement to what another despises!

I am not an authority on proposals. Who is? Is it the editor behind the desk? Sure, but remember she/she is only privy to her company’s procedures (all the more reason to find if a company has such guidelines in existence). Another company may accept or reject that very same submission for completely different reasons! A time this is crucial is when this editor is the particular company you are sending your submission to! Definitely follow their guidelines if they have them.

Is the authority that designer friend who has been published and rejected a thousand times whom you have put upon a pedestal? He/she will have valuable experience to offer that you most definitely should listen to, but when it comes down to it, that individual will never know why he/she was accepted or rejected, unless specifically told by the specific editor, for that specific project, at that specific time. See what I am getting at?

Many many variables play into a project being accepted or rejected. Timing. Project (too many thongs already for this issue!). Project compatibility (we like toilet paper toppers, not padded bikini toppers)… trend is ending (no more fun fur please). Too many to list! A fantastic proposal can result in acceptance, as well as rejection. There is really no way to know, unless the person responsible for the fate of your submission sits down and tells you exactly why you were rejected.

No, this does not mean a proposal does not matter.. It is not just what is in the proposal, but it is also how it is presented. It is a reflection of you, your style, your carelessness or lack thereof, your haste or attention to detail, etc. Your effort…

I am also not saying there are no rules to follow or tips to take into account. There are things one should definitely do. And there are things one should not do that range from the most blatant to the absurd.

I am not saying to decline taking advice either, quite the contrary. Take all the advice you can. Especially from established designers and editors!  Just do not rely upon once source. If there is a guide from a company, follow that, and then where needed fill in the gaps based on what you have learned. Do your homework and compare your notes… then develop your own proposal style; be active, not passive.

PS, this is the Blossoming Beauty Sundress that was recently published a few months ago :)

PSS, And unlike me who write this in one shot and is going to sleep and not looking over this post until I have visited dreamland, do check over your proposal and check for spelling errors! Niters all… 1 am dreams call! Hope I have frazzled at least one mind with this post.

Give a little bit…

Remember this song from Supertramp? Here are some of the lyrics:

Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit
Ill give a little bit of my love to you
Theres so much that we need to share
So send a smile and show you care

Anyway, a lovely lady Linda Permann, a crafter, is raising funds for her brother-in-law with cancer. ALL profits go to the fundraiser. In her Etsy shop, you will find certificates to the Crochet Garden. There are only 5 total. Get a $20 certificate for $10. So, get them while you can or tell someone else about them!

Hope For Jasenn

Lace, lace, I want More.

Fire Child with the yummy goods, from Knit Picks

Fire Child with the yummy goods, from Knit Picks

Yesterday I spoke about lace weight yarn… I ordered some from Knit Picks not too long ago, right when I knew for sure I wanted to experiment making more garments with lace yarn. Fire child is happily displaying the goods. Water child was at swim practice, so he was unable to see the treasure.

Alpaca Cloud Lace, from Knit Picks, in a shade that is discontinued (The line of yarn still remains in different colors)

I was really torn when ordering. I wanted it all. Can’t I have it all? I suppose I could, and then would have the credit card companies after me. Everything in life after all is within reach, it’s merely a subjective opinion to what degree of good or bad one finds the consequences to be. And since I am looking to buy a house come spring, we needn’t go down amassing all the lace weight yarn possible! Yes, looking to buy a house.. more on that later.

This yarn rocks. I have already begun working with it.. swatching. I have 2 swatches that will make kick-hiney lacy shawls. One of them is really unique, and I am on the hunt for some beands to go with it. It will definitely be very earthy looking.. Not necessarily trendy, maybe a tad, but I definitely do think it will be something in the closet one can back to again and again.

Shadow Lace yarn

Shadow Lace yarn, "Oregon Coast Heather," from Knit Picks

This was actually my second time ordering from Knit Picks. About 4 yrs ago or so, someone gave me a gift certificate to use there. I finally used it, maybe a year or so later (Knit Picks certificates do not expire), and since this was in the infancy of my career, I did not really know what I was ordering, or what to do with it. I think I primarily purchased it based on weight and color. At that time, (and still for the most part) I like finer weight yarns (though at the time I did not know just how find this would be), and the color just blew me away. Something about those pale, icy-like colors.

It was the Alpaca Cloud Lace I had ordered, in a pale baby blue (a color that I love but has been discontinued), and then some Peppermint Heather (which they do still have). I must have had good taste. It is 100% baby alpaca, and oh so worthy being next to the skin. The Peppermint Heather I used as my experiment for the prototype of the Dragonfly Shawl. I love, love love the Alpaca Cloud Lace yarn. When ordering from Knit Picks this go around, I wanted to try some different lace… Take a look at the close-ups of the winners. As always images are clickable!

The first one is from their Shadow Lace yarn line, in the color “Oregon Coast Heather.” It is 100% Merino Wool and is very soft. It is definitely not as lacy/stringy as the Lacey Lamb that I used for the Dragonfly Shawl (I did love that about the Lacy Lamb), but I loved this just as much in its own way. It is though just as springy as the Lacey Lamb, and I can tell right now it will block just as beautifully too.  It would definitely lend itself a different way in design, making a personality all its own. This is the yarn I am using for one of the swatches that will eventually turn into a shawl, and the one I am the hunt for the perfect beads for. I will be using, at this point, wooden beads for this, hence, the earthy look. Even the stitches chosen for this shawl, though somewhat lacy, complement each other nicely contributing to the character of this shawl in its final form. Oh, I cannot wait!

Shadow Lace Yarn, "Snorkel Heather," from Knit Picks

Shadow Lace Yarn, "Snorkel Heather," from Knit Picks

Another I ordered out of this same line of yarn is the color “Snorkel Heather.” I LOVE this color. Can I say that again? I LOVE love love this color. First, I am NOT generally one to like variegated yarn. (This is not a variegated yarn, by the way). The only reason I bring up variegated yarn is that one may think in general if a person does not like variegated, he/she would not like any yarn with color changes of any sort.

I am very very choosy when it comes to yarns that have color changes, but I definitely have an attraction to these kinds of yarns. I think the affinity comes from  all of the gorgeous, hand painted yarns appearing with the advent of Ravelry, and of course the growing of Etsy. In fact, it is on Etsy I am hoping to find the “perfect” wooden beads for my shawl with the Orgeon Coast Heather lace… Let me know if you are a bead maker, or know of any nice wooden beads!

The color changes in this Snorkel Heather are in perfect harmony. Which though is why it is called a “heather.” If you click on the photo, you can really see how beautifully blended these colors are, one just melting into the next. I think for this shawl since the heathered look is not stark, but simply subtle, and will lend itself to a beautiful, open lace garment..

I can just see this being worn as a shawl, or even sarong, at sunset when walking along the boulevard, or even the beach…. a gorgeous, alluring lace, with these deep rich colors that accent the ocean. Now, if only I had an ocean by me, I could photograph it there! Oh wait, we have snow. Hmmm. Ok, well, we will figure something out.. still have yet to design with it! Can’t you see this being a very popular color this year? I can.. the deep rich colors of teal, turquioise, etc. I do not follow color trends too much, I just sort of go with what seems right for me at the time, and thankfully, the color choices always have been in sync with the times!

Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace Yarn, "Cumulus," from Knit Picks

Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace Yarn, "Cumulus," from Knit Picks

Ok, the third lace weight yarn is Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace yarn, from Knit Picks, in the color “Cumulus.” This color speaks serenity to me. Very calm, endearing.. I can see a beautiful, intricate lace pattern with this.. Maybe some small, hint-of-shimmer beads. I can see this being very elegant, or casual enough to be worn with a white tank and vintage skirt, with a gentle wind sweeping by. Can you see it?

See, I am a nut. When I see a yarn, it talks to me. Yes, it talks to me… I begin painting pictures in my head of what comes to me.. out comes the sketch book, and scratch notes about the “inspirational yarn.” I will draw what I envision in my head.

Though I am very logical, I am quite emotional too. Not in the sense I am a basketcase, quite the contrary, but in the sense that I am super empathetic, and so in touch with what I see and feel that it conveys itself through my writing, through my art and through my designs.

So anyway… time to get moving on this Saturday, get some cleaning and work done. I will leave you with a little sneak peak of something that is in testing… Happy weekend! Oh, and if you are in Level 1 on the Testing Forum, this project is open to you!

Sneak Peak

Sneak Peak

Lace, anyone? Dragonfly

Ice on a bush by driveway

Ice on a bush by driveway, ice storm 12/19/08

My mind has been going in numerous directions this past week. First, I need a new sketch book. Last one is now filled… I am being cheap though, and so a 10 cent spiral notebook will have to suffice. The ideas blasted me so much that my once white, pristine sketchbook is now laden with pencil drawings and scattered notes, rampant with eraser smudges.

Everyone grows, changes, adapts as careers continue… after designing that Dragonfly Shawl, it happened. I can feel the fire within, just like it has at times before. That’s the it – in essence, the slight loss of control. You see, often I go off on tangents… especially when the “new idea” comes. On a side note, I can still hear my brother saying to me when we were little “Oh no… another one of Lisa and her big ideas…” with the roll of the eyes and a swift walk the other away. I think it was that loneliness coupled with my unelected solitude in grade school that in some way formed some crazy “idea” neuropathways…. I can always remember doing something, somewhat insane.

So this past week was a sudden surge, almost implosion of ideas. After working with that lace weight, I am in love…. The Dragonfly was my first time working with a lace yarn. Now, as stated previously, I have worked with size 10 thread, even size 30 thread before. But lace weight yarn is a whole new breed….

The magic is in the blocking… I now have a set of nifty blocking wires. Once opened, will get a photo for you. Oh, the things I want to design with more lace weight.. Must, must get my hands on more. I have now been searching at all the different types of lace yarn out there… Which to try next? I want to try them all…

So please… Lend me your thoughts or observations… What should I try? What do you like? Is there anything particular that you have come across?

Since I do not have access to lace weight in town, I cannot go out and pet some lace weight… It will have to be ordered, so if you have any ideas, let me know! In the meantime I will continue my hunt of which lace weight to try next. Will let you know what it is!

Well, it is midnight… Sorry so short! Happy Friday everyone…

I leave you one of my new workout songs of ’09! Don’t know about you, but this song always puts a smile on my face and gets me dancing in the living room……..

Song on YouTube.

PS, here are a few more photos of that ice storm we had right before the holiday, and a video… Ice storms, so incredible, yet so destructible. (Clickable twice)


Happy New Year!

Happy New year to everyone!!!

Cannot believe it- another year has gone by. I have never made New year’s Resolutions before. Not because I had not wanted to, but mostly because it alway seemed like the new year crept up without notice, and with my “all or nothing” mentality, I always felt resolutions had to be be made before the actual new year in essence for them to be executed on the very first day of the year!

Time now to disperse of my “all or nothing” way of going about things. That encompasses breaking my thought processes to what is habitual for me. But, what have I accomplished in 2008?

Stone Path Hat, Interweave Crochet - Winter 2007 issue

Stone Path Hat, Interweave Crochet - Winter 2007 issue

First, I was published. And though my first publication came out in the Winter of 2007 (Stone Path Hat, Interweave Crochet Winter 2007). I did not realize what was to come all in the subsequent year, what I would be learning, what I would accomplish. That hat was the bridge to my relationship with Interweave Crochet. Not only was the pattern a successful and popular one, but it told me, wow, I can do this, and then – wow, I REALLY want to do more!

Each issue thereafter contained a pattern of mine. The spring issue unfolded with my Bouquet Stole (Interweave Crochet Spring 2008), followed by Summer Daisy Sundress (Interweave Crochet Summer 2008), then with Oxford Town Tote (Interweave Crochet Fall 2008) and then lastly, my greatest achievement: The Dragongfly Shawl (Interweave Crochet Winter 2008).

Bouquet Stole, Interweave Crochet Spring 2008

Bouquet Stole, Interweave Crochet Spring 2008

Summer Daisy Sundress, Interweave Crochet Summer 2008

Summer Daisy Sundress, Interweave Crochet Summer 2008

Ocford Town Tote, Interweave Crochet Fall 2008

Ocford Town Tote, Interweave Crochet Fall 2008

Dragonfly Shawl, Interweave Crochet Winter 2008

Dragonfly Shawl, Interweave Crochet Winter 2008

I never thought I would be in so many issues, especially with never being formally published before. Though, I did have a few short stories and poems published as a teenager, those were definitely never included in my proposals to Interweave!

The editor, Kim Werker, saw something, and I can only be glad she did. The people at Interweave Crochet were so approachable, so incredible to work with. Never once did I feel self-conscious In fact, I was treated so well, it fueled me to challenge my skills – and thus born was the Dragonfly Shawl.

In addition to Interweave Press, soon a relationship was formed with DRG (Annie’s Attic, American School Of Needlework, House Of White Birches, Crochet! magazine, etc.) and Caron. My relationship with DRG began with a wonderful editor named Ann. Before I knew it, I was on the phone with her discussing book ideas when I thought of a new cabling technique. I did not know who to go to with any company, or even which company for that matter.

Hats, Scarves & Mittens For The Family

Hats, Scarves & Mittens For The Family, DRG 2008

I think I just went on a phone rampage with the sudden onset of this whole new world opening up to me…. Ann loved loved loved the new cables, and could not believed they were crocheted. Simultaneously, I was emailing with Caron, and just said basically, “My name is so and so, here is my site, do you take submissions?” A lady named Nancy said “Yes, your stuff is right up our alley!” Within a couple days, I had a box of yarn at my step and went to work on swatches. I sent in 4 designs thoughts, 3 of which were accepting with the 4th pending. (As far as I know they still have the 4th).

Lisa's New & Easy Cable Afghans & Throws

Lisa's New & Easy Cable Afghans & Throws

So, then I had 3 projects to work up for Caron, DRG said to me, “We do not want a book with hats, scarves and mittens with your technique. We want 2 book! One with afghans using your new technique, and another with hats scarves and mittens using the traditional cabling technique.”

So, a good portion of 2008 was deadlines slammed together, one after another… the first half I should say was the most busy, and could not believe all the work I had. More publications came after, and with more to come. I have an pattern coming out in Crochet! magazine in the spring at some point, as well as 2 patterns coming out in the next spring issue of Interweave.

Another new part of the industry opened up for me as well – tech editing. I began doing this tech editing this summer, and it has been another learning curve. I am enjoying it, and was shocked when asked to do some tech editing. I know I am pretty anal-retentive when it comes to my own patterns. So much that I tend to mull over a single instruction for hours – to the insane point of rewriting the same instruction in every form possible and then by process of elimination conclude which is the best insertion for the media intended… Yep, one of my neurotic perfectionist tendencies… Anyway, tech editing has really retrained my brain, well, not entirely, but has given me a different perspective in which to view things.

Seeing things from another point of view, and how people think about things and what makes sense to them is a real eye opener. Another thing that brings to the table is decision making.. well, before I get going too much on this (can be a post on its own), let’s get back to wrapping up 2008!

2008 also brought me my first PR! The local paper here did a write up on me, and my business at the Crochet Garden… The Macomb Journal article.

Macomb, Il icestorm

Macomb, Il icestorm

Speaking of news articles… What else did 2008 bring? It was the first time I had to stay in a shelter due to weather. Yes, on the 19th of December, my town was hit by an incredible ice storm. Here we are on the WGEM news. Somewhere on there too is a video of me and the kids in the Red Cross shelter, with my daughter handing out snacks to everyone…

Macomb, Il icestorm

Macomb, Il icestorm

2008 also brought my BIGGEST accomplishment ever, in my lifetime. Something I thought I would never, ever be able to do. Everyone has a little dirt secret, right? Soon I will be posting more about my trials with this. This may even be a shock to many, but I used to smoke. This is the year that I quit. It feels so wonderful, and I feel like a brand new person. At first it was quite surreal, but now reality has set in, and for the first time that I can remember, I call myself a non-smoker. I am no longer a slave to those horrid, nasty little life-controlling-sabotagers. Yeah. that is not a word, but I have now made it one :)

So what are some new resolutions for the new year? (These are NOT in any order of importance).

1. Blogging

First will be to blog MORE. I think it helps me in a way, and well, it is a lot of fun to share my trials as I design and continue on with my career. You can bet on seeing more blog entries!

2. Losing Weight

Yeah yeah, everyone always adds this to their list. I really am going to do it though. Since I have already quit smoking, and conquered that, I feel I can do anything. It is NOT that I do not believe big is beautiful, etc. But for me, I want to be thinner… Just like the time finally came for me to give up the smoking habit, the time has now come where I am ready and most importantly, WANT to lose weight. And at least I do not have to battle both quitting smoking and losing weight together. I REALLY want to run around the park with my daughter in the spring… I want to get one of those jogging strollers.. Not only do they look cool, they look fun! I wish my mom took me around in one of those.. haha.

Anyone in Macomb area need a workout buddy?? On my testing forum, we have a Healthy Living area.. Well, time for me to revisit that and give that a major jump start! Come by and join up at the forum if you wish to join us in our endeavor. It does not matter if you have 1 lb to lose, 100 lbs, or just want to get healthy. No need to test patterns or anything.. Fellow designers, everyone, join on in!!! I am also going to start up a quit smoking section in that forum. Anyway, register at the board, and give me a day to organize those forums and get them going. When you register, send me a PM letting me know you are interested in joining the Healthy Living forums!

3. Move

I know it sounds silly to put this down as a goal, but man, we need to move! Not only do we need more room, I think it will be better for a change, something different…

4. More Time For Myself

Though my career did take off, at least on the publishing aspect.. and many more patterns were added to the Crochet Garden website..Though I love what I do, and I would be lost without it, I need to spent my time more efficiently. Not cram everything I can into a specific time period.. But to realize there will be times of utter chaos with deadlines amassing to no end… It is those times, that I need to take a little bit of time out. Getting away, even if for that 20 minutes, I think will in all actuality create time, rather than zap it, it a round about sort of way. Little breaks will make me feel more charged and rested thus making my subsequent working time more efficient. My mind will work more effectively, thus getting more done in less time, therefore resulting in more time.

There are more, and in attempts to rid myself of that who-knows-who-made-the-rule everyone-must-make-resolutions-before-the-new-year, I am going to allow myself to make up some new resolutions in the coming days! I think my new motto for the year will be, “break more rules,” shhh, my teenage son musn’t know that!

Happy New Year! I leave you with some Christmas photos that bring smiles to my face :) (Clickable)