Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life Goes On

I'm back, kindasorta. We're still piecing together the events prior to the unexpected passing of my aunt. Just prior to losing her we learned of my 27 year old cousin being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I have decided that as he fights his cancer I will donate all the chemo caps I crochet in their names, maybe even sell a few with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society as I have in the past.

In the meantime, I am trying to get organized. Yarn has seriously taken over the house, and this is not a good thing. If the house were bigger, or contained less people, it wouldn't be a problem. Moving, as it was slated for this fall, has been canceled. So I turned to my father who lives nearby. He has graciously agreed to let me use his basement to build a yarn studio.

Building a yarn studio won't happen over night. First, I need to wait until he finishes clearing space for me and correcting a slight water issue. As the studio will be in the basement, correcting the water issue is a huge concern!

Once that is taken care of, I will need to address how to heat the area. Not a problem, I have a space heater already.

Lighting. This could be a problem. We're talking basement here -- windowless. This means I need to look to lighting that will not fatigue my eyes.

Paint. My children have already been helping me select paint samples. We haven't decided on a brand or colors yet, but we do like the little plastic ring Behr offers -- anyone else thinking "stitch markers?" Since I am a huge giraffe fan, I might consider one wall painted like the giraffe patterning we're all very familiar with ...

EZ View Craft Desk WhiteDesk. I want two. I want a desk/treadmill combo. I think I have mentioned this before. This way as I surf the internet I can be walking off up to 40 pounds (or so the claim says) a year. I like the sound of that!

The second desk would be the one you see on the right. Ever since I saw a glass-top coffee table filled with crochet hooks on a website long gone, I have dreamed of having such a way to display/house my crochet hooks for myself. And then I saw this desk a few weeks ago on the internet and think it clearly has my name all over it. (If it doesn't, then I'll write it on there! LOL) What could be more inspiring than sketching new designs while viewing beautiful crochet hooks?

Flooring. I haven't decided on if I want a wood floor, or carpeted. Either way, I want one of those Roomba things that will mop/vac at will!

Shelving. Housing my yarn stash will be important. I haven't decided on official shelving yet, but do foreee a trip to Ikea for some great ideas. One thing for certain, ever since I started eating more salad, I've been having fun recycling the containers to house my yarn. I love that I can see inside the containers AND stack them neatly! (talk about going green, right?)

So, readers, what am I missing on my list for creating a new yarn studio? What would be on your wish list of things to add?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chasing the Right Shot

If you were following me on Twitter or Facebook this morning, then you already know I had a difficult time photographing one of my finished crochet projects. Mr. Dee said perhaps I'm a bit too picky in deciding how, when, and where I take my photos. I think it's more than that.

As I played with two cameras, adjusting lighting conditions, backgrounds, and clothing props, I started to blame it all on my poor mannequin. I said things like:

"mannequins with diva attitudes, can you stand them? photoshoot not going well. "
"if I could, I'd take the mannequin's head off; but wait, she hasn't got a head ..."
"this photoshoot & mannequin seem to be taking on a life of their own ... "
and finally, "... will mannequin be upstaged by a simple hanger? ... "

Perhaps I was the one with all the drama. Who knows for sure. The good news is, after almost 100 (digital) photos, and after calling in Mr. Dee to assist me, I got one that I like. So why all the fuss?

Just as I spend the time in deciding what yarn (Rowan's Damask) and hook (Graydog), and stitch pattern (Tumbling Clusters Autumn Scarf) or crochet technique I'll use for a given project, the photo I want representing my work should show (imho) the project's personality. Can projects have personality? I certainly think so.

... and maybe my mannequin has one too. After all, it was only after threatening to put the scarf I crocheted for ME on a hanger did she begin to seriously start posing... what did Tyra Banks say on her show, "America's Next Top Model" ... a good model makes a photographer chase her. And that's just what my mannequin seemed to do... I'm just saying...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

make lemonade. Errr. No, wait. Summer is nearly over. Forgetaboutit. Buy matching colored yarn instead!

Two states, one Fair, four yarn stores; one day. Whew!!
It was a very busy day with dropping off entries for the upcoming Eastern States Exposition Fair (well known as The Big E), and visiting various yarn shops along the way. The biggest grins seemed to have stemmed from wearing my daughter's day-glo yellow nail polish ... want to know how much fun it was? Try it yourself; especially on a rainy, grey day with a group of other yarn lovers. :)

Readers: Which yarn, of the 3 pictured (if any), do you think I came home with?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New PDF Pattern Release

One of the classes I taught at the recent CGOA Chainlink Conference was called Tunisian-on-the-Short." The focus of the class was on linked crochet stitches, and it was a pleasure to teach! In fact, the wrap I wore at the Fashion Show was created with linked stitches I dreamed up in my sleep. (Oh, come on, you all know I dream in crochet, so this should not be a surprise to anyone! Giggles)

Upon returning home from the Conference the idea of linking cluster stitches kept nagging at me ... calling me ... beckoning me to figure out a way to do it. And I did! Now I am in no way saying I invented the stitch, as who knows, it could be in a book somewhere. I'm just saying that I figured it out on my own. And while tinkering, perfecting the way I did it, managed to whip up a few scarves for the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge, such as the blue one pictured on the right.

Now my new PDF pattern for my Tumbling Clusters Autumn Scarf is officially released! My testers report the stitch is "definitely addictive & makes for very soft, springy stitches" and "works great," -- and seemingly struck a cord with many already as the pattern has been selling like hot cakes prior to me announcing it here. ((Thank you everyone!)) If you'd like to purchase the PDF pattern, you may do so on Etsy, on Ravelry, or on my website. ... just a warning though -- it can become a new stitch addiction. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fairy Crochet-Mothers Do Exist!

Have you ever been RAK'd? RAK'd stands for *Random Act of Kindness.* I love RAK'ing, and being RAK'd -- and I believe if more people practiced it our world would be so much better!

I know I still have the recent CGOA ChainLink Conference to finish blogging about (I'll be backfilling when time permits). One of the entries missing is the one about what I purchased at the Conference. Honestly, I didn't purchase much. With Mr. Dee's layoff seven months ago, splurging is something I really can't do at the moment. -- but I had purchased an Etimo crochet hook to surprise a friend with here in Connecticut.

That's right, I RAK'd a friend. She couldn't make the Conference, crochets like a mad-woman for various charities (she's such an inspiration!), and unfortunately suffers badly from arthritis in her hands. With the hook having a soft cushion I thought the Etimo crochet hook would be perfect for my friend; I wanted her to try the hook,hoping it would offer her some comfort to keep crocheting. She was delighted with my RAK'ing her, and better yet, she loves her new Etimo crochet hook!

So imagine my surprise when my postal carrier delivered a mysterious box and inside was a complete set of Etimo crochet hooks! -- For me! From my "Fairy Crochet-Mother/Goddess!" OMG -- how cool is that?!!! Thank you Fairy Crochet-Mother/Goddess!!"

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Optical Illusions

Technically it is still summer. Fall does not officially arrive here in Connecticut until September 22nd. However, with our weather dipping down into the 50's for the past several days it already feels like Fall has arrived.

While taking some pictures of a scarf I have placed for sale in my Etsy shop, Mr. Dee, who was standing some distance away, exclaimed, "Hey, cool autumn shot!" ... thinking I was uploading a picture of fall foliage with a river running below. Do you see it? No?

OK. Try this. Get up from where you are sitting and step back about 5 feet. Now, move to the right about 8 to 10 feet. Keep looking at the image on your monitor. Do you see it now? You need to view the image from an angle to see the optical illusion. Cool, huh? :)

Pattern coming soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

6th Annual 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge!

It is that time of year again ... a time to crochet, knit or weave scarves that will benefit YOUR local community! It is time for the 6th Annual 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge!

This Challenge originated on my blog six years ago. Last year I moved the Challenge to Ravelry.com and the pooled efforts were amazing!

How the Challenge works:
  1. Crochet or knit a scarf (or more) for charity. You can use a pattern (give credit to the designer if that’s what the pattern calls for!), learn a new stitch, or create your own pattern.

  2. Pledge it for a local charity near YOU; no need to ship! Check with your local homeless shelters, Salvation Armys, religious institutions, and schools to find a home for your scarf/scarves.

  3. To have your scarf count towards the goal, you can go on Ravelry, upload an image and label it ”2009 Scarf for 60 Day Challenge.” Or post about it on your blog and leave the link here in my blog comments.

  4. The scarf/scarves must be created by hand between September 1st and November 30th, 2009, midnight, eastern time, to count. (Yes, we know this is really 90 days, but we’re keeping the name of 60 days)

  5. Any skill level, age and gender can participate! Spread the word!

  6. If you have a website or blog, feel free to save the image below to your own computer and display it proudly!
This Challenge is a great stash buster AND does YOUR local community good!