Promotion- 1 Free Pattern [CLOSED]

Ok.. for those who know me really well.. they will know I am constantly thinking of new things.. I do get asked Quite often does my mind ever rest. Well.. I do not have time to go into much detail. But one of my ideas is this…

There will be a drawing, and the winner will receive a free pattern from the Crochet Garden. There is no need to purchase anything to enter.

Promotion 1

Date: October 24, 2007 – November 5th, 2007.

Send an email to this address: In the subject line, put in “Promotion 1.” In the body of your email, answer the following questions. And then you will automatically be entered into the drawing. Winner will be announced here during the first week following the end of the promotion. (Winner drawn randomly).
Please answer the following questions in your email:

1. What do you like most about the Crochet Garden Patterns

2. What could be done better or differently in Crochet Garden Patterns (if any, be honest!)?

3. What kinds of patterns would you like to see more of on the Crochet Garden pattern website?

Ok.. so that is a promotion. Let’s chat some about this idea, as it spans not only on this post, but future posts as well.

Ok, in the right Column, you will see a heading called Categories. Each post I make here is categorized. Or well, soon will be if not already. One of the categories is called “promotions.” You can click on that and see all the posts made under that category.

Why make promotions a category all itself? I plan to have many promotions! For right now, promotions will be random, and can last for any duration. The “prize” will also differ. There will never be any purchase to enter. So please keep checking back.. There will be one very big promotion coming at the start of the year.. so definitely keep your eyes open for that one.. but there will be other ones along the way, such as this one :) Fun idea, yes?? I think it will be!

When you send an email with a promotion, be sure to put in the subject line of the email the Promotion Number! (Example: Promotion 1, Promotion 2.. etc.)

To check the status of promotions and which ones are opened and which ones are closed, simply click on the box under categories that says “promotions” and you will see the subject line will say if it is open or closed. To go back to the main page of the blog, click the “home” link at the top of the page.

Happy 3!

We are back! As some of you may know.. we went away for a few days.. and then it was the happy catch up game with everything! Anyway.. on to the highlights!

Happy 3 to my darling little girl… What a celebration it was!! Cannot believe it. Where has the last 3 yrs gone?? We went to Chuck E Cheese for her birthday party. She really had no interest in Chucky the mouse.. but, she did have a lot of interest in the slide in the tot area! She tried to go down the big one, but she wasn’t yet long enough to climb up the vertical “steps.”

The cake was absolytely gorgeous. The photos just do not do it justice. My daughter has a fascination with butterflies and flowers.. so the whole theme was flowers and butterflies. (sorry Chucky!)

Here are some memories to cherish:


It was quite funny. Our party hostess lit up the candles. Immediately, Liv blew them out. So, he lit them again. And once again, Liv blew them out without hesitation… lol. So, once again he lit them. I told her to wait… we all sang happy birthday (the whole family was there), well she made it halfway through the song before blowing them out- luckily I got this photo right in time!! (Notice the butterfly wings on her :)

Playing the bee game with her big brother- she has to catch these balls flying all around in a net, them dump them into a hole to get tickets:

Another fascination: horses

And here she is with grandma picking flowers off the deck in the backyard at grandma’s house:

We all had a great time. Grandpa took her out back to show her the chipmunk he feeds everyday.. They sat there, she on his knee, watching.. waiting.. and then they both screamed when the little guy appeared. Later, grandpa had to change the oil in her auntie’s car.. so here she is giving grandpa a helping hand:

So, it was a wonderful time.. we got away for a bit.. and the kids had a blast. And the weekend was absolutely gorgeous, especially for October… in the upper 70s and lower 80s… and then of course, when we get back… it gets cold.. but at least not too cold.. 50s and 60s is my kind of weather!

And well.. I had to take this photo.. the way our dog sleeps/.. I guess she missed us so much she has to keep wrapping herself up in our blankets and sleeping on her back! Hehe…

Well.. I have lots more to catch up on and will write again in the next couple days.. maybe even tomorrow.. I had a couple deadlines.. which I will tell you all more about.. Off to finish playing catch up!!

Stuff for the testers!

Good afternoon!

What a beautiful day… cool, in the 60s; this is my kind of day! I am just loving it.. and today has been a pretty productive day so far. I pretty much have the last 5 patterns edited and ready for the deadline to be sent out for publication.. More on that soon when I sign the contracts!! (You all are going to love them!) I cannot wait to tell you more, I truly want to burst with it.. but alas, I must wait. But I can say- I think this is going to be huge! So let’s hope the paperwork goes in and out fast so I can let you in on what is soon coming!

I want to give a thank-you, to all of my testers. Many have been laboring hard with everything that is going on.. My admins keeping tabs on posts and organization of the board.. testers testing and really working diligently..

Something on the Crochet Garden Testing Board is a point system. Testers get points for testing, posting, etc.  With these points, there is an arena area where these points can be redeemed. It is really, truly a neat system. One of the areas is “Guess Events.” A photo is posted, and each guess is a certain amount of points. Another area, are regular events, usually one posted per week, and “tickets” for those can be anywhere from 10 points to 1000 points. The more “tickets” one buys, the more chances to win. Those can be either known or unknown.. Like for example, one event may be 50 points per ticket, and it is a surprise of what the winner gets. Then there may be another event where there is a photo posted of the winnings.. It really adds a fun element to the testing board.

Here is one of the latest things for grabs in one of the events: 6 hanks (440y each) of Alpaca Cloud, 100% baby alpaca. Oh my it is soooo soft.. and the color is just absolutely gorgeous!! I love pale, almost icy colors.. One of the lucky testers will be winning this lot!

Alpaca Cloud


Alpaca Cloud

And oh my, it is so soft. Not scratchy at all. It is a laceweight.. I am imagining a beautiful lacy shawl or stole.. or maybe even some gorgeous lacy baby dress.. OR even a dainty young miss cardigan. When I get through all of these publications and through the winter launch for the website.. I will be getting more of this yarn to work up a pattern or two with. What shall I make with it? It is just so beautiful and ideas storming through…

But one lucky tester will be winning this.

Next time I go up to Chicago, and visit my sister in Wisconsin.. I am going to hit that store and get some yummy Yerba Mate for some events! (See This Post on Yerba Mate Tea)

Ok, so in my last post I talked about designing patterns for women. I would like to make both regular sizes, as well as plus sizes. I know about a year and a half ago I was going to work on plus size crochet wearables, but unfortunately, the time never presented itself. I am now wiser, in that time will never come to you! One must make the time. So this coming year, I will be treading into this new territory of designing.  I even have some goodies to help me along in this adventure- will delve more into that on future posts and keep you all posted on the proceses I use as I develop these new skills. I already have a zillion sketches.. some awfully cute camisoles.. some dainty but classy looking tops… and a few sketches of some skirts. One of these though I think I may send in for publication.

In the meantime, I am doing much needed research for myself in this area.  A lot can damage a great design.. for example, when it is best to have a dropped sleeve.. when to have set in sleeves.. Even the sleeve length can impact the overall success of a design. And of course, the material used.. I have pretty much sworn off anything bulky-wise for plus sizes- we do not need all that excess! But then, I really do not like bulky yarns anyway, at least for most of my designs… They are fine maybe for a baby hoodie.. but for tops, I do not think I will be using them. For majority (both plus sizes and regular sizes) I plan to use from size 3 to a worsted weight)- depending on the project, style, and stitching used.

Fingering weight- a maybe… depending on the sizes and what the item is… same thing for size 10 thread. I do not want to make a garment that takes so long many never finish.

On the same note of material weights.. The Craft Yarn Council has now redone their pages.. There is a new, or well, updated yarn labeling system. (For example, worsted always termed as a 4, etc.) There are now weights 0-6. Check out the yarn weight system through the CYCA!

They now have sections for designers! If you design.. check out: Submitting a Project Idea: Where To Start, and  Designer Pitfalls (A great read!). There are many other great articles and sections.. so go check it out at all the revisions and updates at the CYCA (Crochet Yarn Council Of America)!

On another note, a dear successful, published and well known designer friend of mine began a blog on blogger oh maybe a couple months ago. I know many people out there use Blogger, so I figured I would throw this out there to my dear fellow crocheters who have blogs on Blogger.

In correspondence through email, she told me she changed her blog to another name, because the old name was similar to another person who crochets and she did not want the two blogs and designers to be confused (valid reason). So, she deleted her old blog about 3 weeks ago and began anew with an entirely new name.

This morning I was doing a search to get to the new blog using Google, and I clicked on what I thought was her new blog, but was her old blog. And oh my, it was quite full of explicit adult material. I emailed her straight away alerting her to this. It did not looked hacked, since she had given up the old name of the previous blog.. but what is bad, is that when doing a google search, that name is affiliated with her name, but just different content (very different!).

I did some research.. and I came across someone who had the same thing happened. He warned, never ever delete and give up your blogspot address/name/account. See, many of these blogs have people out there in the world wide web linking to them. So unscrupulous people take advantage of this known fact- basically, knowing they will get instant traffic. So they wait and snatch up any deleted blogspot names, and put there content in, and just watch the traffic go on.

The gentleman on this site suggests leaving the site there and simply making a link to your new site. Anyway, this is just a forewarning so this does not happen to anyone else- nobody deserves to have their name associated with things they not wish to be associated with. I have to look into it, and so does my dear friend, maybe there is something that can be done.. but even for the time it takes to get something done, it can be unnerving and unsettling waiting for it go away…

So I leave you with that heads-up if you have a blogger account.

Time to get back to work… Take care everyone :)

Into The Green- Chemicals, Fibers & Organics

Everyone is talking about going green.. from electric cars, to global warming.. Then there is the surge of natural fibers to organic…

I think it is all great! If I had my way, my dream house with be very green friendly, with solar panels, sustainable materials… carpet that does not give off VOC’s (volatile organic compounds)… My house would be filled with bamboo palms. Why bamboo palms? Because they are one of the best “air purifying plants!” The air inside a home is one of the most polluted places of air- even more than outside (that is why you always hear people say open a window for some fresh air).

Here is an excerpt from one of many articles:

“…Studies have been conducted and the results found that plants brought into a room, will absorb these chemicals (Benzene, Trichloroethylene and Formaldehyde) and put oxygen back into the room. One potted plant per 100 square feet will clean the air in an average home or office. Without a doubt, the most important job of an indoor plant is its air purifying abilities… Of the many indoor plants cultivated today, there are a few that show better than usual abilities of absorbing these chemicals than others do. Bamboo Palm, Spider Plant, Dracaena, and Weeping Fig are just a few that have this absorbing ability.” —

So.. guess what is on my wishlist- bamboo palms of course!!

Ok, so my last post I was on a health kick.. I have always been conscientious of things of this nature.. But again, I am not perfect, and like many am still finding my way, absorbing what I can with everything I read and hear about.

Ok, so that brings me to organics.. I touched on this a bit in my last post.. Here is a couple quotes, from the Organic Trade Association. (Read more on the article).

“The Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in 2000 in the United States as “possible,” “likely,” “probable,” or “known” human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin). (EPA)

“It takes roughly one-third of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just one T-shirt. (SCP)”

Scary, isn’t it? It makes me think, my goodness, if our skin is absorbent, how much of this is in our bodies? Organic fibers, unfortunately can be much, much more expensive than the chemical counterparts. I do believe though, in time, prices will come down, especially as the demand goes up.

Even so, if one is unable to buy organic, there are many ways to help… recycle! I know many people who regularly visit thrift stores, and purchase sweaters- basically to use the yarn. Here is an awesome tutorial of how to recycle yarns from sweaters.

Yarn Recycling Tutorial By Ashley Martineau

And if you have a program that opens word documents, here is a phenomenal tutorial, with many upclose photos.. including many tips for all kinds of materials, wool, cotton, novelty yarns etc. The tutorial is written by the same person, but there is more detail and although the photos are in black and white, they are very very clear. She discusses bad seams, good seams, what to look for.. this is a must to check it out. To find out more, just do a search in your search engine for “recycle yarn” or things along the same lines.

Download it here: How To Unravel A Sweater By Ashley Martineau (.doc file)

So, if you find a sweater in the closet that looks like a great contender for recycling, and it is either too small, or too big, or you it just not appeal to you… recycle it!

Ok back to organic fibers… I have some yarns to share with you, that are pretty well priced, for being organic. First, is Nature’s Choice Organic. It retails for $5.99 for 3 oz. (85g) 103y skein. It is not a hank, so no need to wind. And oh my, it is so soft! The colors are very natural.. not too strong, but just right.. just the right bit of color. Here it is on the Lion Brand website: Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton from Lion Brand.

I am sure there are many other places you can get it online, but here it is at the Knitting Warehouse (a favorite place of mine with a flat shipping rate- and they have it on sale right now!): Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton at the Knitting Warehouse.

Here is my yummy organic yarn; colors are as follows from top row to bottom (Macadamia, Strawberry, Blueberry, Pecan, Almond):

Nature's Choice Organic Yarn

Closeup of the Almond:

Nature's Choice Organic Yarn

No matter if you use one color or a several, all the colors truly go together! This yarn is so incredibly soft- excellent choice for a baby.. I am currently using this yarn for a baby/young child set (Sizes 12 mos to child size 6!) set.. watch out for the pattern, it should be ready sometime in November- along with some other goodies!!! (Do not quote me on that.. I have many many things for publication to complete first, but then it will be on to these other goodies).

I really love, love this yarn.. it works up so nicely, and even though it has a “nubbiness” to it, I find the stitch definition to still be great. I want to make myself a nightgown with this!!

Another organic yarn by Lion Brand is “Lion Organic Cotton.” It comes on a hank, so you will need a swift to wind it up, or some patience and wind it by hand. The retail price of this is $5.99 for 1.75oz (50g) hank. It too is incredibly soft:

Lion Organic Cotton

The colors above are: Vanilla on the left, and Cypress on the right. Here is the listing page on Lion Brand’s website: Lion Organic Cotton at Lion Brand.

And here is at the Knitting Warehouse (And it is also on sale!) Lion Organic Cotton at the Knitting Warehouse.

You will have to stay tunes to see what is in store for this beautiful natural yarn, and when I discuss how it works up and show you more photos.

So, it is a little pricier than non-organic yarn.. Nobody says you need to throw out your yarn stash (please don’t!), or reform yourself into a complete only-organic crafter. And if you are on a tight budget.. maybe for that new baby in the family one skein for a sweet little baby hat will suffice, and you will know how even more special that little cap is… Put it on your wishlist! You never know.. I know there are some people out there who want to try this yarn.. so why not make you all some great patterns for it!

Ok.. so I am almost done with the things I have on my plate… two due dates for a total of 6 items by October 22. I have been working like a crazy nut.. I swear sometimes the yarn is talking to me. (eek). So then after this deadline.. I have another deadline for more 4 more items in the middle of December. I am hoping after the Oct deadline, I can work a wee bit on some things for the website and squeeze in a launch in November…

Drop me a line of what things you would like to see maybe with the Lion Organic Yarn!

PS… soon I will be working on women’s garments for the website.. write me a note of what kinds of things you are looking for! Be as detailed as you want.. the more I know what everyone is after, the better things I can design.. I am very excited to now step into another realm of designing- women’s attire.. want skirts? Camis? Bikini’s? Casual.. sexy.. modern but hip? Let me know!!

Take care all.. off to having little conversations with my yarn!

Happy Columbus Day! & Health Kick Post

Happy Columbus Day everyone!

Finally, I think our heat wave is leaving… the past 3 days it has been in the 90s here.. very stifling, especially since our window air conditioner has been broke.. And then, having hot heavy yarn on my lap trying to crochet… bleh it was just going so slow.. I do not know what it is, but humidity and heat just create havoc for my productivity level.

So… I found a really interesting article.. You know how when you were little, getting your tonsils out was pretty standard? People live fine without them. Same thing with your appendix… getting it out- especially when inflamed, is routine. But what are the purposes of these organs? For a long time scientists in the medical field did not really know for sure. But now.. I found an article on CNN. I am surprised that after one day it dropped from the front page.. to me it is a huge thing and very interesting.. How long has it been since a purpose for an organ has been found? One would thing that in this day and age and how advanced our medical technology is, we would know.. but alas, it has dropped from the front page. But here is the article.. how scientists believe they think they have found the purpose of the appendix:

Interesting isn’t?? I think it warrants being on the front page for at least a few weeks! But then, I am one of those few that finds a fascination with health, technology, the immune system.. yeah I am one of those that can plaster myself on the couch with some tomato juice and get absorbed with a graphic operation on the TV.

I remember when I used to donate my platelets.. If you have never donated platelets before, it is different than blood. You sit in a nice “comfy”- yes comfy is subjective, chair.. and it takes about 1.5 hours.. And they put one thick long needle into one arm, and another long thick needle into another arm. Your blood goes out in the one needle, and then gets cycled through a machine.. almost like a centrifuge.. to separate your platelets (clotting parts of the blood)from the rest of your blood (red blood cells etc.) Then, the blood (red blood cells and plasma etc) goes back into your body- oh goodness it is cold when it goes back in!!! Well, I do not know that the blood going back in is cold, I do think it is cooler, because I always get super cold when donating.

It is hard, that if you get an itch- you cannot bend your arms to scratch. Every single time I would get so super cold.. It could be 100 degrees out and I would need a blanket.. No wonder that with people suffering from hypothermia- it helps to warm the blood and such. Usually, they had a blanket for me or 5 .. lol…

There was one time that I had a phone call. There was a 6 year old boy who was going through a bone marrow transplant, and there was a man who was a match donating his platelets for this child. Well, the man broke his arm and could not do the donations. They called me, saying I was a match and if I would mind. I had to go in each week for a couple months and donate my platelets for this little guy. I do not know the outcome of this transplant, but it felt so good, knowing that I was able to help the little fellow, wherever he would be. And what is neat, is they gave me a certificate, and a license plate frame.

I still have that frame to this day and have it on my car. If anything it reminds me of that important time when I was 19 and I went in to donate for this little boy.. And well, maybe I secretly hope that if I am ever pulled over, the cop will have a little smile with mercy for me? (knock on wood!)

Platelet donor license platw

I really think it is so important what goes into our bodies. I try to buy organic when I can.. and I never buy anything that is high on the pesticide list. Some people may think I am a nut.. but I really think it is so important of what goes into our bodies, and how much exercise we get. Although following good nutrition and exercising as we should is not full proof, but I do believe it can prevent and maybe even help sickness. I really believe that it was Okinawan women have the longest lifespan- 85 and something years.. for men, it is 77 something years.. They eat a lot of seafood, so they are getting plenty of omega fatty acids.. along with much exercise.. of course, their nutrition and exercise may not be the main factor, but if anything I firmly believe it plays a large role.

For our milk, I buy from Heartland Creamery.. it is stocked in our grocery stores in town.. What is nice, is that it is a local creamery farm near us.. so the overhead is very low.. and it is competitive pricing to the regular milk.. Even a couple weeks ago there was a sale and all of the Heartland milk was cheaper than the regular milk! And normally, it is about the same or just a tad more than regular milk, less then 50 cents.. which I think makes it totally worth it.

The great thing about the milk, is that not only does it taste much much better than regular milk, it is grown without antibiotics or hormones. The chocolate flavor, oh my.. it is the best chocolate milk one has ever tasted, and has very little caffeine.. So it is great for the kids. They have 3 flavors, white, chocolate and strawberry. They also have goat milk.. and even eggnog! The class bottles require a deposit, but that deposit is fully refunded upon return of the glass bottle for recycling. At our stores, they do have the milk available in large plastic gallons- but only in white.. which is nice though because we go through milk in this house like crazy. If you have this milk available.. I would highly recommend it!!

Heartland Creamery bottle

Speaking of hormones and anitibiotics… we also try to buy organic fruits and veggies when we can.. and sometimes though I just go with regular.. but when I do go regular.. I make sure it is not something that is super high on the presiticde list (strawberries, peaches, green peppers, and NON U.S. grapes).. My kids are super big grape lovers.. but I do not buy between Jan and April, when grapes from outside the US dominate the grocery stores.. So since about May.. we have been buying grapes galore, the US ones.. Of course, they are not organic and pesticide free, but they are far less full of these carcinogens and such than the imported ones.

If you are looking for a list of fruits and veggies to avoid, and which ones are lower on the pesticide list.. here is a good list:

Ok.. so while I am on a blogging health kick.. may as well add some more into the mix.. Please remember though, I am NOT an expert.. I am just someone who is very curious about the world and our health and the environment.. I absorb articles and documentaries like there is no tomorrow (no wonder my first major in college was Microbiology- my dream was to go on to get a PhD and go into medical search!)..

Here is a phenomenal tea.. It is called Yerba Mate and I have been drinking it for a while. What else is great, is that this tea is Fair Trade.. that means that the farmers who cultivate are paid a fair amount, what they deserve.. so that not only do we in America get a high quality product, but these farmers can develop their economy and get paid what the work they are doing is worth.

There are also MORE antioxidants in Yerba Mate than black tea and even more than green tea! And even more than red wine. It is a natural energy booster.. Here are some photos of my Yerba Mate:

Yerba Mate

Check out the antioxidant chart:

First, here is a newscast on Yerba Mate and other energy drinks and natural things, and this was on CNN. See the newscast.

They even state on the CNN newscast that this is a great alternative to coffee- especially if coffee gives you the jitters!

Yerba Mate Ok so, where can you see more and read more about Yerba Mate.. ? I am lucky in that my sister and her fiance live in the city where they are able to get this tea for me.. otherwise, you can order from this site. There are many many websites out there with Yerba Mate, but to me, since my sister and her fiance are able to get it at a store near them and since this is a pretty well known website, this is the one I am listing: Yerba Mate:

And here is a place to see the FAQ on Yerba Mate tea!

Ok… well, I would like to say again, I am NO expert, and to always consult a doctor before making any changes in your diet or taking anything I say as fact. These are just another part of me, of things I am interested in and things I believe. You can visit the websites, and do your own research and come up with your own beliefs and opinions.

I am not one to “jam” my opinion down your throat.. I am not one to think “Oh my! That person is not buying an organic apple!” I just try, within my budget, to do things which I think are healthy for me and my family. I do prefer to go organic when I can, but that is not always feasible.. I try to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies into our diets, but yes, I still often succumb to the Chinese takeout..! (See, I am human!).. There are still times I hit the drive through. I am not perfect, nor am I an expert in the field of health and science.. Just like I said before, my only goal is to help people gain more information so they can make their own decisions for themselves, as I am doing for myself and my family.

On another Note.. have you all seen Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006) ? Well, we rented it.. and well, first I must say I loved it, and so did the kids. And my FAVORITE scene.. which I still cannot stop laughing- and I swear I am going to put this DVD and soundtrack on my wishlist solely for this scene here.. it is just soo funny.. It is the scene of the sloth dance.. first it starts out with a “simon says” sort of thing… and then it gets into the song.. I swear you can hear the drums of the rainforest.. it is awesome, and so funny to boot.. check out this clip on You Tube

EDIT: Seems Your Tube has removed this clip, so I am sorry you will not be able to see it. but if you have the movie.. pop it in and watch for the sloth dance- it is completely hilarious!

So, I leave you with a laugh to close.. Have some yummy yarns to shown you soon.. but alas this blog post has taken a while (I do not know how to find more time to devote to blogging!!) and there are things I need to do (ya, dishes.. laundry.. CROCHET!).. and of course, have fun with the kids since it is their day off of school.. well, my son will not be home till later this afternoon because he left at 6 AM for a choir competition.. lol maybe I will pop on Ice Age?!

The Detectives of Crochet

Well, things have been so insanely busy. Deadlines galore! This entrance into the publication has definitely put me on my toes! My dear blog has been sorely neglected- and I apologize for that! I have a deadline for 6 patterns, all due this third week in October (eek).. So between writing and editing…and crocheting like a mad woman, time to breathe has been a luxury! One should see me.. I am very quickly learning there is a dimension above and beyond the realm of master multitasking… And my dear testers.. they are feeling it too, but soon it will be done with and we can all have a break.

I have this new fiber material I am working with.. And it is a shrinking fiber blend. So this past week I have been doing research galore on fiber materials and their properties.. For example, is it ok to stretch something when blocking it above and beyond its natural state? I found that many yarns behave vastly differently.. And what about fibers that shrink? Design something larger to allot for the shrinkage… ? Design it to size and then block back out? If it does not shrink, and you plan to include blocking in your instructions.. should you make it to size, or smaller and then block out? So many questions I have looming in my mind.

With this particular yarn I went on a detective hunt, so that I would have the most perfect pattern that I could possibly have. What was really amazing, is that I came across a pattern that Annie Modesitt designed using the same yarn! So I figured, what the heck.. let’s email her and see what she things about this shrinking/blocking/designing issue. So I explained to her I am using the same fiber yarn she used for a particular pattern, and that my issue- and within 5 mins she wrote me back! My jaw dropped.. what a sweet and kind person…

Thank you Annie for lending your expertise to me! I genuinely appreicate it! And for everyone else, check out Annie Modesitt’s Blog– this kind lady who gave a helping hand to this designer…!

I also called the yarn company itself and found the go-to lady for this specific yarn. She was quite helpful- told me everything there is to know about the yarn, any possible issues from customers on the shrinkage etc… So many little tidbits of information really valuable in helping me to design the most perfect pattern… So with that, and all of my detective work reading blogs where people discuss blocking and shrinking etc.. and then also working up my own swatches, and washing, drying , wetting and blocking I now feel strongly in which way to pursue this design.

No Sheep For you (Image used with permission from Interweave Press) Also in my quest, I came across this book: No Sheep For You, by Amy Singer (editor of Knitty Online Magazine). (If you knit, check out this magazine, looks like an excellent resource- articles, patterns etc.)! This book is available through Interweave Press- and we all know how great Interweave is!. I have it now on my wish list.. Do I have a wish list?? No.. but why not make one.. I guess this is an “in-the-mind” wish list.. one of these days to get that book.. it looks like an ultimate resource, especially for those like me who are thirsty to learn all they can about the the different fibers out there and their properties. Especially with the rise of natural fibers.. hemp, bamboo, etc. This book includes info on these, all the way to linen and cotton and other materials.

I also found this little tidbit on YouTube, of Amy Singer and her book in Toronto, discussing the different types of fibers (hemp, bamboo, soy etc.).. very interesting. There are models showing off her beautiful knit designs in this book.. and oh my- you have to see the fitted Aran Cable sweater, very chic, modern and plain sexy!

And the cover? Absolutely awesome…! VERY catchy, very unique, fun, has a sense of humor and a character all its own… Need I say more? Who could walk by that book on the shelf and not get it? Just by the cover you know it is going to be great… When I do finally get it.. I will definitely be posting about here!

There will be more info on this design in the months coming ahead, but just not yet… But the point is, that designing is not just designing.. it entails so much more.. detective work, research, problem solving.. for example, I had to modify the stitching of this pattern due to the results after washing and drying, as the stitching kind of “warped.” Good designing entails LOTS of swatching and experimenting.. troubleshooting, expecting the unexpected. Thinking outside of the box. Lots of science in a way… developing a hypothesis and then testing the theory under many conditions (as with blocking, washing, drying)…

Designing without serious swatching and testing is playing with fire- yes very cliche’, but it is. I think that, at least for me in designing, the first step is always to swatch swatch and then do more swatching.. I am now seeing how important it is to really become intimate with the fiber material you are working with, whether natural or synthetic. A designer is not just writing out the instructions of a pattern.. that is only a small portion of it.. So much more is involved in the designing process.

And that brings me along to my patterns.. What else can I do above and beyond writing instructions? Include any tips that you yourself have experienced… If a yarn is known to shrink when washed and dried.. put that in.. If a material is very weak or brittle when wet, let the crocheter know that. The art of designing, to me, is so much more.. It encompasses passing on your knowledge and expertise, so that the crocheter can make the best item as possible.

On another note… My son has been having difficulties with his girlfriend.. she is a sweet kid.. but very confused. My son has been by her side… walking her home after football games, there for her when she needs to talk.. But I am actually proud of my son for this break-up. I guess for a while she has been liking another boy. And my son was tired of it. He said she was quite surprised that he broke up with her, that she thought she would be the one breaking it off. They may end up back together, they may not. But I must say something must have gone right in raising him.. that he had enough self-respect for himself and know that he is worth a lot and should not be second best.. That is one big things I always feared for him.. since he has always been a kid to please others, and to make people happy.. and SO laid back I always was afraid that people would walk all over him. Even when I scold him, he never says anything back and just says “ok mom..”

I have been really trying to push him to voice his opinions and to not fear the consequence.. that it is more important to voice what he is feeling and thinking to others, including myself (lol was not sure what I was getting myself into there by saying that). But I knew, it had to be said and pushed for his best interest. Maybe that was it that brought him to do the breaking up, maybe not.. But somewhere along the way something went right, and although I truly feel empathetic.. I am proud at the same time.

As per the lady at the thrift store.. I did not send her flowers- not that she did not deserve them.. (a little out of my budget) but I did leave a card… I have not been in there since that day, but hope to go soon.. every other weekend they have everything half-off. I really hope things are getting better for her.

Well, back to my superwoman-multitasking-crochet-clean-insanity-day!

Take care, all!

Sometimes, they just need a smile…

This has been a busy couple of weeks.  Each day, there always seems to be something new. First, about a week ago, I had my largest order ever. I was so ecstatic.. a customer purchased one of every single crochet pattern I have ever designed. Every single one… Can you believe it? She was so excited and completely fell in love with my patterns. She bought one and then another, and another, until she decided that she wanted every single one… I still have a smile on my face. She told me, spend it wisely.. Oh I said, will be going toward winter coats for the kids and the electric bill.

It was the perfect time, and then it brought me to another thought-The realization that I am doing it. People truly do love my patterns, and my unique sense of style. And to think, when I first began designing, I was terrified that people would not like my work, that they would think it is too untraditional and not of the norm.

Sometimes, I think that I am too picky… If I do not like something, I will rip it out… it can be very time consuming, crocheting, then ripping out, sometimes ripping of 2-3 skeins worth. I am not sure what it is, but it is my downfall. I keep thinking, if I would stop doing this, how many more patterns I could put out. But for some reason, I just can’t do it. If I do not like something, out it goes.. Even if I partially like it, if I am not completely satisfied, forget it.

On other notes… this weekend is my son’s first High School Homecoming Dance. My little boy is growing up into a man… I am so proud of him. Such a nice boy, gets good grades, has a truly magnificent circle of friends.. He is jovial, laid back, just the kind of kid everyone wants to be around… And you know.. he is 6’4! I had the hardest time looking for black dress socks for him.. finally found some that fit shoe sizes 13-15. Since he wears a size 14 shoe, he is able to use his choir shoes- they are black. But the socks, black dress socks, oh my that was quite a hunt. But finally found some. This is a very busy week for him. This week, before homecoming is spirit week at school. Yesterday was pajama day.. and today is nerd day.. hehe… He dressed up in black slacks, a white shirt, black suspenders pulling his pants up high.. then rolling his pants up at the bottom on the inside to make them higher, with long white socks.  So, between Spirit week this week in school, homecoming this weekend,  Tuesday, he gets confirmed. Such a busy week for him.. and time is just passing by so fast.

Update: My son just arrived home from school.. and well, he won “Nerd Day.”

I guess they go by applaud.. that there is applauds for each student, and the loudest applaud wins. He is a pretty popular kid, not snooty popular, but the kind of person everyone just likes, no matter what “crowd” they are in.. Incidentally, he won a candy bar :)  Keep checking back for a photo.. need to charge the camera.

This reminds me, I went into the Thrift Store yesterday, to get him a funky tie for nerd day. The lady there did not seem happy at all. Her face kept cringing, her manner was one of a silent lashing out.. As if at any moment, she would explode. I went into the back saw a little play high chair, and a Leap Frog electronic ABC game. I asked her how much they were, since they were by everything else, but no tags. Things that have not yet been gone through are generally behind the long rope that divides the room. She sighed, walked over and looked each over for about 5 mins, continually sighing. She muttered a few times “they are not priced because I have not looked at them yet…” I had the feeling that she thought if she took enough time, I would just walk away. However, her demeanor did not distract me as all I could think of was my daughter having a wonderful time with these 2 items.

She continues to sigh, underneath my breath I felt like walking out that it was not worth it, but thoughts of my daughter did not waver my stance… Her complete depressive state was literally zapping my energy by the second… Finally, though seemingly reluctantly. she said $5 for the high chair… And then $4 for the game..

So I went browsing around the store while thinking about this.. they were both in fairly good shape.. and knew my daughter would just love them.

I do not know what happened, but I kept thinking about her and my irritation left and I felt sympathy for her.. I told her it’s a sale and then gently asked her if she was ok. She didn’t really answer, just looked away. I kept probing… not sure why. Finally, she broke down and said she was having problems with her kids.. I do not want to go into too much detail, but I could sense she was deeply, deeply hurting on the inside, and I think my instinct told me she was not trying to be a terrible saleswomen, but something really took hold of her and wasn’t letting go.. So I talked to her a few minutes to try and make her feel better. They are closed today, but tomorrow I am going to get her some flowers with a little anonymous note. I am not sure what to say in the note, but something that hopefully will bring a smile to her face.

The only reason I am not going to sign it, is that I do not want her to feel awkward, and I don’t know.. sometimes thank-you’s make me feel awkward coming from other people. What do you all think?

This made me think… for now one, when I get in the drive through and someone is in a bad mood, or any store or place for that matter, instead of thinking I will take my business elsewhere or letting them zap my energy… I am going to say “cheer up!” or something… Even if they are just a grumpy person, I think most really just need that friendly customer to give them that smile they are lacking.

Ok.. time to get back to work and then get working on dinner.. I really need to one day get a deep freezer. It would be so nice, to be able to make extras, and then throw them in the freezer, and then days like this I can just relax, heat up some food from the freezer.. Right now, if I put too much into the ice box, for some reason, it makes the food in the fridge all freeze. This has happened too many times to count, and then everything, well not everything but a LOT of things in the fridge have to be thrown out.. This fridge has cost me so much, so now, I put barely anything in there, as I cannot afford to throw food away. The landlord did have someone come out and look a couple times at it.. but he couldn’t figure it out, and basically that was the end of that.

I am thinking maybe next year I will be able to get a deep freezer.. Oh will be so nice!

Ok.. will write more tomorrow as I have a few more things to catch up on here, but work to do and dinner to make…

Take care all!

Beautiful Day

Oh it is so beautiful today.. Finally this heat or rather, humidity is now gone. 83 degrees, a nice breeze.. perfect laundry day.

I finally got a pic of Henry. Though not the best picture.. he now has taken up residence on the window, but disappears often. One day I saw him all fuzzy and dusty.. I think he was under the fridge or something. Here is Mr. Henry:

Henry- the preying mantis

The other night, I went outside, and above my door on the outside- guess who I met?? Welp, Henrietta. I did not get a picture of her since it was dark.. but Henry better watch out. His head will be bit off by her if she decides he is the one… You can see in the photo, Henry’s head is tilted back and his little beady eyes are looking at me. I think he is getting over me trying to kill him. I think he is now actually starting to take a liking to me.

Well, remember that company that accepted my designs? Seems they have accepted another one as well… I have been so super busy… crocheting, designing.. Hopefully soon I will have a launch.. just a couple more things to get into testing. It really seems like there is never enough time in the day. I have so much I want to get done this month.. we shall see if I meet all my goals. Another goal is to blog at the LEAST once a week. So, when you do not see me on here.. just means I am really busy designing lots of patterns for you all!!

I am still so excited about Interweave’s winter issue.. I cannot wait! I just cannot stop bringing it up either.. The day I get that issue, watch out! On that note, I am also getting published in other places as well! I cannot say yet,until the contracts are signed, but once that is done.. I will be blabbing away here about it… So keep checking back.. It is amazing, all this publication happening at once.. It has become quite a task balancing getting stuff done for the website, as well as for these companies. I think I should take up stock in Advil.. yes? My joints are definitely getting a workout. And with my daughter in preschool, I have so much more time in the day to work.

I am so happy I put her in preschool. It has done wonders for her. The socialization has really made her blossom. Potty training happened overnight.. I still put a diaper on her at night just in case, but she has now been day trained for a few months. It is nice.. saves so much money on diapers. She also absolutely needed the rigid structure. It was hard, since being a single mom, and this being my full time job, to give her the absolute schedule and things she needed. Some kids may not need such structure, but she definitely needed it, and I needed time to work. It was hard cramming in designing and crocheting in the wee hours of the night and during her nap times. During the day, forget designing and crocheting… she needed me, interaction, etc.

Her speech has also blossomed… It is quite funny, I got her a pink little stuffed doggy, and she says “oooh mommy, so cute! Cute, cute, she’s so cute!” hugging her new little friend… I was cooking dinner and my son and I were in the kitchen and she comes in “hey guys!” lol.. we both laughed so hard, it was so sweet and funny, hearing slang. It is hard being away from her, but I know that is what is best for her. She also already knows all of her colors, counting, her ABC’s, incidentally, her favorite color is purple. Oh my.. what a phase this has been. Everything has to be purple. I told my mom, to get only purple! Some mornings it takes so long to get her dressed because she wants everything purple.. even down to her socks and panties!! Oh and then she also has a fascination with butterflies.. I had the hardest time last week getting her dresses, hunting for her shorts with the butterflies…

I think I will also have to take up stock in butterfly appliqués.. better yet, crochet and design a lot of butterfly appliqués and embellish all her clothes! That and dogs… she has an obsession with dogs. Well, any animals for that matter, but especially dogs. And oh my, such a passion for them. She is definitely an outdoors little one… everything in nature, from rocks, to bees, to squirrels. She would live outside if I let her. She also loves her babies and imaginary play.. here she is feeding her baby doll after her bath:

Every Saturday morning we go to the Farmer’s market. In the beginning, we got our favorite plants from our great farmer friend. He grows all if plants from organic seed and of course organically.. I bought a ton from him and planted them for our summer garden. I always ask him lots of questions.. What was really great is had so many types of basil.. lemon basil, lime basil, cinnamon basil.. yummm.. I made lots of pesto, and another favorite thing I like to do is take eggplant and slice it up into paper thin slices. Then I sprinkle kosher salt and let the moisture drain. Then, take 2 slices, and put a basil leave with a slice of farm cheese or mozzarella. I then squish the sides to make a sandwich per se, and then roll it in breadcrumbs. I then either fry them in Canola or Olive oil, sometimes bake them. Oh they are sooo good..! Olivia loves them too, and it exposes her to so many different types of herbs and vegetables, especially since I am such a veggie-herb nut. You should see how much chives and dill I planted! (I am obsessed with dill). Anyway- her is my farmer friend.. You can just see the energy radiating from him. And oh my, see that jug? that is full of his wonderful home brewed iced tea:

I love iced tea, especially homemade in the summer. I make big gallons of it. Mostly green tea, and then add in organic sugar, fresh lemons, and some honey and mmm.. the kids devour it. I get the caffeine-free for them. And of course, I make tons of Yerba Mate for myself.. now to just get myself a gourde. One of these days.. I save so much money by planting many of my own veggies and herbs. One day, when I finally buy a house, my dream is to have a huge backyard of nothing but herbs and veggies, and or maybe a greenhouse. One day…!

And here is my daughter, munching on some homemade biscotti at the market.. oh it was divine. My favorite was the chocolate macadamia. She is also sporting the hat I made her, which is part of the Nature’s Kiss outfit I designed, and holding “Scruffy” very close. Everyone has asked me to make that hat for their kids there.. everywhere I turned.. many begged me to set up a table at next summer’s farmer market… Will I have the time to make and spend there? We shall see. Of course it would be neat to mix and mingle with everyone, and talk about my crochet and designs. I was thinking of making up a photo album of all of my work, and one large poster size of my daughter modeling a hat.. It would be so much fun, but then I need to make sure I stay focused, as designing and putting patterns on the website and selling patterns to publication companies is what puts food on the table.

I wish my son would go out more with us.. but well, being a teen and so wrapped up with his friends and such, does not leave a lot for family time. But I am proud of him.. he is enjoying highschool, and is doing quite well. Each night we go over his Algebra and his other classes he feels he is weak in. He just found out he is getting an A in math.. and I told him, you can still be good at something and not like it, that everything you like, you will not always be good at! Then I kind of went off on a tangent of graphing equations and the theories of derivatives and matrices.. Well… I love math.. It was one of my minors in college. He now spends his evenings at football games, and watching his girlfriend cheer (she is a cheerleader), and then spending weekends playing Diplomacy with his friends. It is quite funny, he says people have basketball season, football season, they now have decided this is their Diplomacy season! lol.. Such a good group of kids.. well behaved, high morals, very outgoing and personable.. I am so happy that these schools here are ranked extremely high in this state.. and am so glad he has made such wonderful friends and is heading down the right path.

So what are my plans for today? To keep crocheting. I have a few large projects I am working on for publication. They will take me some time… and in between I am squeezing in items to put into testing for the website to have a launch soon. I think though I am at my limit of things I can put into testing.. I think almost every single one of my testers is testing one more things, and are basically “full.” So I keep designing, and putting things on the side waiting for them to give them more. So far, I think they are loving it. One item, is a BEAUTIFUL , gorgeous dress.. oh my it is truly one of my most favorite designs as of yet… I debated whether to send it in for publication or to put it on the website.. But I think I will put it on the website… Any thoughts?!?!

One thing I scratched off my to-do list was rewrite the Rugged Mountain Scarf Collection!! FINALLY. WOW. I cannot believe how far I have come with my pattern writing. The idea is ingenious, I think to have reversible cables.  But implementing them using the written word was quite a task for a beginner designer, as proved to be the case when I opened up the files to reword. They have now 1/4th the size they were in length. I think another element that goes into good pattern writing is “smoothness.” You can have a long pattern, but if it is choppy and such, it will be overwhelming and the crocheter will put it aside. But if it is smooth, clean looking and logical with good flow, the longest patterns can be quite a treat for the crocheter leaving them with a thirst to want to do more of your patterns. Welp… the Rugged Mountain Scarves are now rewritten. If you have ordered this pattern in the past, please email me or go to the support page with your Transaction ID on your paypal payment and you will get a new version!

Do you ever wonder what people look like behind the written word? Well, I took a snapshot of myself the other day.. You can’t really see all of my hair, but it goes down to my hiney. Usually I am wearing it all completely up, but this time I sort of have it down, though it is in a ponytail. I wear a lot of kerchiefs and things, and scarves as a headband.. so much hair, and so long, yet I hate it when my hair is on my face. yes, I am an odd duck. Here I am:

Well, time to get back to designing.. so much to get done, and I have a “painting date” with my daughter..

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.

Where your hook comes alive!