Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Time to reflect and dream.

My New Years Wish!
I will try and greet the new year as
A dream not yet realized,
A design waiting to be created,
A ball of thread full of promise,
A pattern not yet written,
A song not yet sung,
A wish not yet granted,
A picture not yet taken,
A flower not yet sniffed,
A trail not yet followed,
A dance not yet felt.
A day not yet lived,
Each day will give me chance,
to reach out to friends,
to see the beauty in this world,
to create something beautiful,
to share life with those I love.
My wish for you
is that you find life and the new year
as wonderful as you can dream it.
Full of Peace, Prosperity and Joy
 Happy New Years to All My Friends and Family



Thursday, December 19, 2013

What sort of Business am I ?

What sort of Business am I ?
You know it's that time of year when you reflect on what you have done during the past year.
For me it's been reflecting on what I want to do with my designing.
To be truly successful I know I should become more business like.
Push a little harder.
Promote more.
But you know what.
I am a designer.
Not a business.
There is a difference.
I take an idea and create something from it.
Hopefully something beautiful.
Hopefully something  that touches others.
and hopefully I can write the pattern so others can have the joy of creating it themselves.
I don't want to be a business.
If I have to give away a part of myself to draw people, No thanks.
If I have to use lead ins to get you to buy one of my patterns. No thanks.
If I have to spend hours promoting instead of creating. No thanks.
When I was growing I used to say I wanted to be a starving artist.
Well  I guess I have the right attitude for that.
Since creating is more important to me than the almighty dollar.
It's a good thing as unless you spend a good part of your day being a business person a designer can only go so far.
I keep getting emails telling me I should do giveaways, games, and such to drive people to my site.
To me that feels like trickery.
I want a person to create one of my designs because it speaks to them.
Not because they got the pattern for a bargain  price.
I will be giving away a signed copy of my book next month. But it's only because I want to share my joy of creating something I think has value to crocheters.
So I think I will continue as I have been.
Creating first and fore most.
Submitting my designs to others and let them do the big job of promotion, as it's not my style.
It's a matter of knowing and utilizing your strengths.
Mine is to create.
So I will let my dreams and heart fly where they will and not try and be what I am not.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

As Promised

I did promise to post about my book.
I do try my best to keep my promises.
The name of the book is
I am so proud of how this turned out.
It is a book I have thought about doing for a long time. I was so thrilled when I got the chance to make it a reality.
What I did was find classic Irish crochet motifs from books and magazines that have long been out of copyright and rewrite them in a manner that is easier to understand.
I know I have heard so many times how difficult reading the antique patterns are.
That they were frustrating and some almost impossible to decipher.  
Well I love Irish Crochet and I want to see it thrive.
So I really wanted to make the motifs doable by any one.
I set the book up for the traditionalist Irish crocheter and the modern day Irish crochet lover.
So many of the motifs have a
Traditional version
Padding cord rings, and padding cords.
and a
Updated version 
No padding cord rings and no padding cord.
I did the book all in size 10 white thread.
Not because that's what the motifs need to be done in, but I wanted the motifs to be the focus.
Not color,
Not the size thread or yarn.
I wanted to provide the patterns for you the crocheter to use in whatever size thread, yarn or color you desire. Not to feel you have to do it in the colors or threads I have chosen.
This project was the longest term project I have ever done.
I first had to choose what motifs to focus one.
What types of motifs to include
And then rework, rewrite and revitalize the motifs
Then I wanted to demystify fill in lace and creating true Irish Crochet pieces.
So I did a section on assembly.
There are some of my own motifs in there. As my creative juices wouldn't be denied.
 So hopefully this will be a nice reference book for anyone who wants to play with and or use the Irish Crochet motifs in their pieces.
That was my goal anyway.
Elsie helping me set up the shot of the book and some of the motifs included in it.
In spite of her help I did get a shot.
This is only some of the motifs.
You can find the book here at
I believe it is still preorder only or digital download.
That was hard work helping out, time for a rest in the sunshine.
Today was the first day nice enough I could open the door for her so she could go soak sun on the porch. She can't get thru the cat door yet.
But definitely on the mend.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Letting go.

There has been a lot going on in my life the past couple months. So unfortunately my blog posts have suffered.
See I hate to whine.
And the things in my life have been things I want to whine about.
So I kept quiet.
The major thing has been my cat Elsie.
She broke her leg while I was in Spokane visiting my family in October.
When I got home and took her back to the vet they told me she would require surgery or it wouldn't heal. That it was a very nasty break and she might lose the leg.
Found a great vet who told me that we would try the surgery, and if it failed she would take her leg off at no extra charge. Couldn't turn down the chance to keep Elsie's leg. This vet was awesome through everything. Thank you so much for the chance you gave Elsie.
Long story, short version. After 7 weeks of watching  Elsie struggle with the cast. We came to the conclusion that it just wasn't going  to heal. So last Wednesday she became my 3/4 cat. She now has 3 legs. 
Actually it's a relief as I knew she wasn't comfortable and things weren't improving. It's so hard to watch some one you care about suffer.
Now she is in the process of healing. I am not worried about every thing she does and if it's going to aggravate the healing process.
What has totally amazed me through all this is her ability to keep loving, keep going and never whine through it all. She has a purr for me and wants to snuggle even though it's been difficult to find a comfy way to sit on my lap.
If we as people could accept what life dishes out with out complaining what a world this would be. If I ever go through a major life change like her I hope I can show the same strength of character and keep an attitude of acceptance and hope. She has been an inspiration for me.
So with this behind us now hopefully I will feel more like posting.
I need to tell you about my book that is coming out.
The one I have worked so hard on. But that will be tomorrow or the next day.
And I do apologize if this came off as a whine.
It wasn't meant to be one.
Elsie the night before becoming a 3 legged cat watching TV.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Warning a rant: It gets confusing sometimes: Frustrating at other times.

Bit of a Rant here:
I keep reading about how people interrupt copyright. Scary in and of itself. Because of this I have found myself very leery about self publishing anything for some time. I have 3 patterns that I should be putting on my website right now and they sit, as I am scared of how things are going these days.
The gist of how I interrupt the copy right laws is:
I created the pattern from my imagination. I wrote the pattern in my words. I used my own photos in the pattern. I then own that pattern to sell, give away, or anything else I want to do with it.
Others should not be able to profit from my work unless I sell or lease them the right to.
Then I have to honor that agreement.
Seems so simple doesn’t it.
But it is not how everyone interprets it.
I won’t argue Copyright laws. I am not an expert. But if I can’t protect my work, why should I bother.
One of the things I find confusing is we all encouraged to write our patterns in a certain style. There are many people that teach pattern writing and they have very set rules you are supposed to follow. If we do our patterns this way after awhile we would lose our own style. Well folks one of the criteria of copyrights is the pattern should be written in your own words. Which if we all write our patterns the same way we would not have any individual copyrights for say a granny square. They would all read the same. You can’t have it both ways.
I firmly believe we all have to have our own style of pattern writing to help keep copyrights protected as I definitely write my patterns different from other people I know.
The key to any good pattern writing is does it make sense. Can the piece be duplicated from the instructions given for said piece. Yes there are some basic guidelines. Abbreviations should mean the same for all.
I write my patterns as I think my patterns.
I find writing a pattern in other formats difficult as it's not how I think when I crochet.
It's kind of like writing a note in French when you think, write and speak English.
 I can be done, but it is harder to do as you have to translate as you go.
I thought I wanted to do my patterns as charts so I could be more international. I even have the program to use to learn to do this. But I am almost thankful I haven’t had the time to actually learn to do this.
Why, you ask.
 Well I keep seeing charts pop up in my Face Book news feed. It is so easy to post a picture of a chart with no other instructions. And your pattern is out there for all to see. You don’t see too many patterns posted, but lots and lots of charts.
So I don’t think I want to make it easier for someone to steal and share my patterns.
See it’s like this folks,
I can’t afford to spend 12 -16 hours each day working on creating designs and translating them into a pattern that others can follow without compensation. If I can’t make anything off my patterns, I need to go back to Home Depot or someplace like that pays me a wage. That would put designing on a much lower level in my life.
 The number of designs I would be able to create would drop dramatically.
So as you think about sharing a pattern with your friends, on the internet, or anyplace else, Stop and think about how you are biting the hand that feeds your addiction.
Not just self published patterns.
But books and booklets.
Designers get royalties from the sale of the books.
I keep hearing support small businesses.
Well support your hard working designers too friends.
We do work hard for your pleasure.
On a lighter note
We finally got to go hiking yesterday.
Been too crazy for almost 2 months to get to enjoy our favorite past time together.
Here a few pictures from our hike.
Butterflies were everywhere.
 But this was the only one that held still long enough to get a decent shot.
This plants flower looks likes feathers to me.
So light and airy.
The flowers in bloom right now are so small. This one is about the size of a dime.
The four peaks in shadow.
Marv and Pip were definitely having a great time.
I love this shot.
 Pip enjoying the pools we found.
But you see Pip, his refection and his shadow all in the same shot.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Quiet Day

Today is Veteran's Day.
So remember to take a moment to remember the people who have kept you safe over the years!
This fellow reminds us every time we go out our front door.

Being quiet today and working on my next projects.
But got to thinking I hadn't shared these with you yet.
So I thought I would post few pictures of the pieces that are in the Interweave Crochet Accessories book 2013.
I had such a great time designing the Filigree Sunshield and I was rather proud of how it turned out.
I also have a shawl in that issue.
The Mornings Web shawl.
It too was a joy to crochet, I got to work with silk on that one. Talk about getting spoiled.
And for those who have been wondering how Elsie is doing.
You can see she is resting quite comfortably on her blanket wearing her pink with purple heart cast.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why is it so.....

Why is it that when I have a full load of pieces to work on and most of them have deadlines, that is the time my brain kicks into overdrive, and I come up with one idea after another. I think it’s like forbidden fruit for me.
You can’t do it or have it , so you want to even more.
Ever have that happen to you?
I just added three more ideas to my stash of possibilities and want to do’s 
One thing it assures me of is I will never, ever, be bored.
I haven't been bored since I seriously decided to try my hand at designing.
And since I don't ever see me quitting this as long as my hands and my brains are able, then I am assured of something that will need my time and energy to make will occupy my time.
My brain does dart around though like a drop of water on a hot frying pan. Each of the ideas I have put on the post today are totally unrelated to each other. Where they come from? who knows. I have never tried to totally analyze how my brain processes ideas. I just accept that it does, file away the ideas as they come to me and move on to what I am working on already.  
I have always been most productive though when under pressure.
I gathered it all together yesterday to see where I was and make plans for the next couple months. Without trying I will be occupied well into the next year at this rate. I didn't need to add three more ideas to the mix. One which is seriously calling my name. Those type of ideas normally go to the short list. Since I keep three projects going at all times, and one of those has to be a creative, just because I want to make it type project, then it stands a chance of going on the hook within the next 3 months. That truly isn't too bad since some ideas have been on the post for over 3 years now. As I said I will never be bored. There will always be something that jumps out of my brain that needs me to make it. Always.....
I am not whining, complaining or looking for sympathy. Just stating a fact. It's the way my life is these days.
And Yes I Love it.
Most of the projects and ready to go projects gathered together.
If they are on a clip board they are either ready to go or in the works.
I have 12 clip boards at the moment with projects that are screaming at me. Do me Please!
Three that are in the works  
Oops, missed one. This one was waiting for thread to arrive.
Which it did ten minutes after I took the shot. So it moves to the head of the line.
It won't have too wait long.  
So as my morning arrives you know what I will be doing.
and the day after that.
What  a life.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Process and progress

One of the most common questions a designer gets asked is how do you come up with ideas?
And how do you make it work?
It's truly a process. It doesn't just happen. At least not for me.
Ideas are easy for me.
They jump on me when I least expect them to.
In bed,
In the car;
Reading a book,
Talking to people,
While working on another design.
Any time, any place an idea can happen.
That part I can't tell you how it truly happens, it just happens.
But the process once an idea jumps into my brain I can explain a little.
First I do a rough sketch.
and I do mean rough.
Just enough to get my idea down on paper before it drifts away or is over ridden by a new idea.
At this point it will most likely go on my post of ideas until I have time to develop it.
If I think I will be pursuing it shortly it goes onto a clipboard.
Each project gets a project clipboard. So I don't lose my notes.
Once I decide I am going to see what I can do with the idea,
then it's grab my hook, some yarn or thread and I play with it.
There can be a half dozen attempts before I get it where I think it is workable.
Sometime the whole idea morphs and it becomes something else than what I originally envisioned. That doesn't bother me in the least. It's going to be what it's meant to be in the long run.
But I am still not ready to make the piece.
There can be diagrams of motif placements.
Trials of different threads or yarns.
Will it require beads?
If so what sizes, and where.
Then if  I don't have the thread on hand I have to order and wait.
Oh this part is hard......
I hate waiting.
Now when I have everything in hand and all notes on my clipboard I can begin.
Notes include
The date started.
Size hook,
Thread used.
Beads needed
Starting ch #  if required
All information I will need to write the pattern.
Then I finally begin.
Normally it's pretty straight forward at this point.
The thinking part is done.
If I feel confident I have what I want I will write the pattern as I go. If I think there might be a lot of revisions than I will do sketches of my stitches and stitch placement in my notes.
For me it's less likely I will make a mistake on my pattern if I do this, rather than constantly revise the pattern. It's too easy to forget to change something in the pattern that way.
Even with all this it can still go south and never become something worth sharing with the world.
Then it's just move on to the next idea.
So when you use a pattern.
Think about what has gone into making it happen.
The more complicated the design the more time and effort to make it work is required.
Designers don't just sit around an crochet all day. There is lots of math, thinking, trials, errors, and energy that goes into the creative process.
And this is just getting the piece made.
There is even more to bring said pattern to you.
But I won't get into that today.
I need to get to work here
This idea is ready to crochet.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Elsie's saga and it's not over yet.

They creep into our hearts and souls.
How does it happen that we give so much of our hearts to our pets. And you don't even realize it until something happens to one of them.
 I had a heart stopping moment on Sunday evening when I received a text from my husband.
Your cat just broke her leg. Compound fracture.
Now I am up in Spokane visiting my mother and wasn't scheduled to go home until the next evening. You can imagine how rattled I was.
Marv took her to the vet and they X-rayed, splinted the leg and sent her home. They did mention surgery to Marv but didn't press it so he figured she would heal.
 Not be perfect, but heal enough to go on.
I was so glad when I did get home finally late Monday. To see and snuggle with my girl.
She and I both slept better. 
She has been so good through it all so far. She has already figured out that you have only to ask and the food comes down off the dryer or you are lifted up onto the bed.
I took her in today to get the bandage changed and the doctor showed me her X-rays. Seems like her odds of healing up okay weren't all the good. Like slim to none. So now we are talking surgery or amputation. I have an appointment on Monday to discuss the options.
Talk about heart wrenching.  
You may ask how she did herself under. We are only guessing as she isn't talking. Marv thought he would give them a treat and turn them out into the pet yard.Which hasn't been used since the bobcat showed up and we realized a 6 ft chain link fence might discourage the coyotes, but it wouldn't slow down a bob cat much. So the trees have become over grown. ( they are on my list to trim up now that the weather has started to cool. But they were down on the list, not on the top, so were still waiting )  She climbed up onto the garage and apparently couldn't get back down.
At least without trying to kill herself.
We do have Pip to thank for alerting Marv to her plight. He realized she wasn't where she belonged and insisted Marv go out side now. You know the jump on the person sort of warning, And jump and jump until you get the answer you want. He led Marv straight to her. So Pip is sort of a hero here.
As I said Elsie is handling things well.
Me? well not as well as the cat.
Drove home in tears today.Trying to imagine Elsie on three legs. Which is a real option as surgery may be so expensive it will be our only viable option.
One way or another though we will see that she doesn't have to live with pain of a poorly healed break. I can relate to that since my finger still pains me at times and compared to hers mine is nothing.
So that is where we stand in the cat saga. Elsie hanging in there, Me, hanging in there by the proverbial string. Marv making sure it happens as needed. and the budget is going to be screaming but we will deal with it as always.
Elsie in her splint
My favorite shot of Elsie.
I need something mom.
Smug smile when I listen to her.
Pip the first alert dog.  
 Thank you Pipper dog
And Bilbo, Elsie's brother, you can see how concerned he is.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wnderful People, Wonderful times, Wonderful memories!

You know it's funny, but when I am out hiking I take a gazillion pictures. When I get among friends at events, or when with family I rarely take pictures. Such was the case at the CGOA convention last week. Half the time I didn't have my camera with me, the other half I was too busy having a good time to remember I had it with me.
So there fore I only came away with 3 shots of people.
I have everyone stamped on my memories. But you can't see into to my mind to see what I see, so I can't share.
The people were all so wonderful. The Crochet Rock stars,( you know the ones that you hug hoping some of their talent rubs off on you )  the Kindred spirits ( the ones I connect with anytime we get together)  my fellow attendees, ( my class mates, and everyone I spent time chatting with )  all the wonderful newbies ( the future of our industry ) and the gracious staff that put this all together, I wish I had a picture of each and everyone of you to share here. Some of these categories cross over into each other. But everyone that I talked to, shared time with, or crocheted with were such a large part of why I go to these events. I couldn't even begin to name them all to you. Wish I could so you would know how much you all mean to me. but heck by the end of the week I had to keep referring to my name tag to know who I was.
So here are the few pictures I have. I vow each time I come home I will do better. Alas I never listen to myself.
Everyone knows and loves Doris. She is such a joy to be near.
Susan Lowman, My good friend.
Sharing class time with me.  
Vashti Braha
She is a great designer and teacher.
 I took 2 of her classes and she was nice enough to put up with me and my motor mouth.
As I said I wish I had taken pictures of everyone to share.
My Bad.
My loss.
But I will always have the memories.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My 2013 Design comptetion results and pics

Before I share the results of how I did in the
CGOA Design contest.
I thought I would tell you why I enter and what truly gives me satisfaction.

People keep trying to give me the title of Thread Queen.
I keep correcting them.
I don't really want to be called the Thread Queen as that makes it sound like I am above everyone else. I am not, I don't want to be.
 But I do have a passion for thread and my goal in my designing is to promote the use of, the acceptance of thread, and remove the old lady stigmatism attached to thread crochet.
I try really hard to be Threads number one advocate. If you have to call me anything, call me
The Thread Advocate
 and I will know I am on the right track.
I am a thread enabler.

So when I enter these competitions it will normally be in thread.
Whether I win anything doesn't matter truly to me.
It is represented!
 But when I do win I know I am just adding to the respectability and a better image for thread crochet.
This year I challenged myself to represent thread in the fashion category.
 I decided to design a blouse in size 20 thread.
 My Afternoon Tea was the results.
I am proud to say the design took 1st place.
See it's official it has it's ribbon.
I always have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming my design did well.
My Calcutta Doily also done in size 20 thread and embellished with cut crystal beads.
 The doily took 2nd place in the Thread division
The Calcutta Doily with it's ribbon.
Guess I don't have to keep pinching my self.
And my Rendezvous Draw string purse took an honorable mention  in the Thread Division.
I am very pleased with how they pieces did this year. Just means I have to raise the bar again and find something even more striking to catch the judges eyes next year.
Don't worry I already have a few ideas.
If you want to see the rest of the winning entries, and  all the other entries as well go check them out
Doris Chan and her crew of hard workers made it all come off smoothly and beautifully.
I have to thank them all from the bottom of my heart for giving me the chance to challenge myself each year. The contest truly does help me grow in my designing.
Tomorrow I am going to try and post what few pictures I got of people. But I kept forgetting to pull out my camera, and the smallest one I took decided to die so I lost some pictures there. I will just have to rely on my memories to hold most of the people I met close until next we meet.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Motor Mouth

I just got back yesterday from the CGOA Crochet Convention.
I had such a wonderful time as always.
But I realized this time that I am earning a reputation of being a bit of a motor mouth, extrovert, wild lady.
You know it's only at this sort of event I am like that.
See I am not denying it.
I do get to be a bit over the top when I go. I can't seem to help myself. I am like a kid in a candy store or toy store. I get so excited that I almost get to be more like the proverbial bull in the china shop. I want to see it all, do it all, talk to everyone. But it is so wonderful to be able to go and connect with people that the eyes don't glaze over the moment you mention what you do. That understand the joy of finding just the right thread or yarn to make something with. To discuss the pros and cons of different ways to do things. To just share your passion with others that share it is a heady experience.
To me it is more intoxicating that liquor, and it does seem to have the same effects on me. I lose my restraints. I speak up in front of others, I strut out and show off my crocheting. I talk where I normally just listen. I giggle uncontrollably at times. I talk a mile a minute.
It's sad but true I am a motor mouth at these events.
Would I change it.
It just shows how right this sort of show is. A place to come and share, learn, teach, inspire and be inspired. The fact that I do let myself let go and really enjoy the experience and feel safe doing it says a lot for what the show represents.  
I am terrible about taking pictures at this type of affair. So I will post a picture of what I feel like I am when I am flitting about during the event. Maybe not so pretty, But I am soaking up something from all the people I talk to, the things I see and the opportunities to learn.  But I have to fly from one to the other so I don't miss any of it.
So many things to do, people to talk to, places to be I can't hold still.
Tomorrow I promise I will talk about how I did in the design competition.
Lots to share.

Friday, September 6, 2013


You would think that being self employed Fridays wouldn't mean all that much to the one self employed.
But I still cherish Fridays and base my weeks work around the weekend. Mostly because Marv still works the 5 day week. It also helps me keep my job from totally taking over my life. Something a person in my position is prone to do.
So Friday evening I try and release myself from the push. Oh I will still work on the weekend, just not with the same determination and dedication that I demand of myself Monday - Friday. In fact I have been allowing my Sundays to be my play day. That's when I pick up something I really want to work on and play with it. I try out new motifs, ideas that have been flirting with me all week. A new stitch pattern. Whatever tickles my fancy. It helps to satisfy my creative side.
I am hoping this will help keep me sane, energized about what I do the rest of the week and in general help me stay in love with what I do.
Oh yes what I do is creative.
But once the idea is figured out. The numbers worked out, and you start the piece, it can become a challenge to finish it. Why because the sense of will it work, can I make it happen is over. The treasure has been found so to speak. Then it's stick with it until it is almost complete. Once it hits that point where you can hardly wait to see it done, all the ends worked in, and blocked then the sense of excitement kicks in once more. I think that is why quick projects are so popular.
But I do still love the sense of accomplishment when I make a larger piece work. It's just I have to push myself a bit more on them.
Well I have a few flower pictures from last weekend.
And one of someone we met on the trail.
We did a drive near Mt Lemmon this last weekend and hiked around a bit.
With the rains the cactus as blooming
Love the colors and composition of this shot.
Beauty among the thorns.
With the blooms you get butterflies.
And another Butterfly
I loved the soft colors of this bud.
who will open up into this type of flower.
If you look closely you will see the face of a Havalina, The wild pig that roam this area.
I had never seen one until Saturday.
The pair we saw were bashful and I couldn't get a clear shot.
But then I didn't try and get close either as I hear they can be pretty fierce if pushed.
But they didn't want anything to do with us and left quickly.
But I can now say I have seen on.
I love looking at natures designs. Makes my little brain start clicking.