Oh my so many deadlines…

Well.. so far I have 8 emails in for the current promotion. If you haven’t heard or read about, read this post here: Promotion 1 Post. I am getting great feedback! Once I get all feedback in, I will write about the information I received from everyone, and let you know what the most popular answers were!

It has been sooo long since I have had a launch.. I am in withdrawal. But I have been super busy with publications… Next year many many designs will be out there of mine! I cannot wait to tell you more. Soon, though I can. After contracts are signed and I get the go ahead from the editors. Want to make I remain on their good side!!

I am hoping in 4 weeks (or sooner) to have all the other items I have left to do for publication to be done, at least for the time being of what I have on my plate now. It has been crazy… I am not used to deadlines. I am used to working at my own pace… going on what comes to me.. etc. Just yesterday I received an email from an editor that she needs some ideas/samples in within 5 days.. (wow!). So… today I spent swatching and experimenting. That is for a publication in a book due out next year.

I do enjoy this fast pace, despite things probably seeming very slow on the website. But hopefully with the new launch, when it does happen, it will be well worth the wait!! As well as all the designs of mine you can find in publications. And remember.. Winter issue of Interweave – due out in December.. will have one of my designs in it.. and well, yes I am biased, but I must say- it is a kick hiney design!!!! I am so proud of it :) I wish I could tell you what it is.. but then that would spoil it when the issue does come out, wouldn’t it??

I remember when I was a kid.. and my parents kept all the presents wrapped up covered by huge sheets hidden in the basement room.. Well, my brother and I, the little angels we were, decided one night we deserved to open one gift each! So.. alas, we each very carefully looked over each and every wrapped present… Shaking one here, lifting one here- thinking maybe heavier means something better… After we finally selected our chosen gift of our own accord, we took a deep breath, and within an instant the paper was off.. We were all smiles. Quietly we took them upstairs and played. Later my mother walked in and saw us. Us, being naive’, said “Oh mom… Look! Santa must have dropped these off early for us and forgot to wrap them!!!!” Oh we were good little actors.. but more so, it was my mother wanting to cling onto our childhood and believe in her mind that we were still her little babies and that maybe, just maybe, she did forget to wrap a gift or two… Well, soon the gifts disappeared and were under the tree Christmas morning. We knew what was in each box.. It was not as much fun and I know for myself, I regretted opening it previously. I even felt a wee bit guilty, such an empathetic child I was, feeling sorry that I may have destroyed my mom’s belief that we still believed in Santa Claus. But for her, I was all smiles and excited and jumping up and down. But it wasn’t the same as that first night I opened it.

So… You must wait! But it will be here sooner than we all know it… What is great is that this issue is coming out right around my birthday! The 4th of December is my bday and the issue will be out sometime after that.. so what a lovely birthday gift this will be!!!

Well, I had 6 items due to be made, written, and checked by end of October, with about 30 days to complete on one, and about 40 days on the other, and both due in the office on the same day. Eeek! Well.. luckily, though still severely cramped on time, my admins and a tester came through for me.. they were my first time “stitchers.” I will make more announcements when the publication contract is signed and the date draws near for release.. but they worked their little hineys off and I just cannot say enough… keep checking back when I tell you more about how this entire process unfolded and through our ups and downs and my lack of nails through the entire time… So, after working crazy, all of us for 30 days straight.. I send them in. Quite a relief that all arrived on time and both editors are VERY pleased!… So what happens now, right back to the crunch!

I have 19 items to make by mid December… 16 of them yet to be designed! Even though the swatches were made, there is still shaping, and sizing, and making the overall design for each piece.. And there are numerous sizes for each item! LOTS of work!!! I do not know how I am going to make it. I started the first one yesterday. I am only 1/4th the way through, between chaperoning, cooking, laundry, etc..I will be crocheting like a mad woman I tell you!!

Multitasking has another dimension- beyond the frenzied chatter and conversations with crochet hooks! I swear one is calling me right now… “Come to me… come to me my darling…”

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: promotions@crochetgarden.com. 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.” — GardenGuides.com

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: http://www.ecoteas.com.

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!