All Wrapped Up

When I found a bag of yarn – well not hard in my house – in cakes rather than skeins, I was thrilled. I loved the feel of the yarn. However, one skein of each color was in the bag. So what do you make with a single skein of yarn? Well I opted to make scarves. It was fun to design different combinations of stitches to create these scarves. In there you will find more than just the one type of yarn as I had other yarns that made the pile. I took pictures of the yarn and asked my nieces and nephews do you want. I got a variety of answers.

However, I want to thank my models Aimee Jahns, Lara and Brian Zielinski, and Rebecca Schreier for donning my creations and showing them off. Lara Zielinski and Victoria Troemel for taking the pictures. Victoria Troemel for making the covers. Without the support of these people, these patterns would be sitting in the bottom of a drawer.

Three booklets with nine patterns each of scarves. Twenty seven scarf patterns which take a night or two to make. Need to make donations or presents? Try out these new patterns.

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Balancing Act

With all the things going on in our house with the remodel, we’ve been discombobulated in the rest of the house. This means my crocheting has been stashed away. So I haven’t really been crocheting at all.

Love a great yarn sale…

Now there are two things which sooth me – crocheting and writing. There’s nothing better than having a movie weekend and working on a crochet project. Or to have a week off work and spend as much time as possible writing.

July I released Through Destiny’s Eyes. In August I was part of Into the Dark anthology and To the Moon and Back anthology. I loved both opportunities. They tapped into different writing challenges for me. Saturday I release Paranormal Investigator Files and I’ve been prepping for this event. I also have a release a month through February.

That’s a lot of marketing and promotional work. It’s detail work which is often repetitive. This is not my favorite thing to do but if I don’t then no sales. So it’s an essential activity I must do.

The opportunity to be part of another anthology came to me. Pushing myself to finish a short story in about a month made me realize how much I love writing. Pumping out anywhere from 2K to 5K or more in a night satisfies me in a way I don’t know that I can describe. It takes me to a place I rarely go. I feel fulfilled and satisfied with me. I get the same feeling when I crochet.

Clearly I need to find a balance. I’ve struggled with blurred and double vision and headaches because I’m spending so much time on the computer. So tonight instead of feverishly trying to get promotions done so I can squeak out some family and writing time, I spent tonight with family and not looking at my computer. I started designing a new pattern for crocheting and have really enjoyed crocheting – playing with colors and stitches and figuring out what works.

This was one of my best purchases

Tomorrow night, I’ll be working on the short story to edit, rewrite and see if I can squish it down to 15K. In my head, I’ve accepted I will end up publishing it myself. Don’t get me wrong – I want to be in the anthology. I just like a backup plan. So when I’m revising and editing, I’ll be looking at how to revamp it so I can expand it if I need to publish it myself if needed.

I need a little bit of all – practically I need to have time to promote my books, time to write and time to crochet and design. So I’m working on it. This weekend, a bit of promoting and crocheting. Then later this month I have a week off and I’ll spend those days juggling all three activities. My hope is I’ll be able to finish a project or two for writing. But also work on crocheting and designing. I have gifts to make for the holidays and biographies to watch (or movies or ???). Intertwined with those activities, I’ll work on promoting.

Yarn and Other Delights

I’ve been so busy over the last few months, I’ve barely had time to breath let alone think about putting two coherent thoughts together. One thing I’ve been doing – crocheting.

This weekend I went to a huge sale at Herrschners. It was LOVELY. Yes I know it was shopping but I got to look at a lot of discounted yarn. Some of it was totally worth it and some was just meh.

More important, I got to spend time with my middle daughter and a friend. It’s a two hour drive. We had good conversation, fun craft shopping, and good food.

We were up at the butt crack of dawn which is not my favorite time of day at all. But it is a two hour drive one way. We were home by mid afternoon. Not only was it fun to shop / buy but it was fun to come home and sort it out, label it (yup my daughter claimed some of it) and organize it.

crochet cotton and scrubby yarn

I got a ton of crochet cotton. This is the yarn I use the most. I make a lot of dishcloths, coasters, pot holders, and so much more. I got cones that were a third off the regular price. Sorry – for those who don’t crochet – a cone is a large (cone shaped) spool of crochet cotton. It comes in skeins – about 3 oz typically – or cones which are several times larger than the skeins.

I found a number of skeins for only $1. A FREAKING dollar! Most skeins range in price from $2-3 up. Some of the skeins for a dollar were originally $5-8 a skein.

My daughter pushed the cart. We tried to stay together but she wandered away while I chatted with a YouTube crafter. When I saw her next, the cart was full – though yarn is squishy so it wasn’t really full.

Yarn, yarn, and more yarn!
First table full

I went with the intention of getting yarn for three projects and some accessories. The yarn part I was successful on but I opted to get some of the accessories from Amazon and I’m still looking for the rest.

In the process of talking about what I wanted, I realized I needed to get the patterns off my phone and into documents and folders so I could work on publishing. I started sending them to my email. I really need to do this process more often because I ended up sending 58 files to my email. Now I have the tedious process getting them into files on my flashdrive.

I’m working on three leaflet/books – maybe actual books rather than just single patterns. The three are going to be – Spa Day, Scarves, and Kitchen. I might do another blanket one as I’ve got one already done and three more in mind but this will likely be a leaflet rather than a book.

I’ve got two weeks of vacation coming up shortly. I cannot wait. My initial plan was to write the entire time. That isn’t going to happen. I let it be known I was taking vacation and now the universe has interfered. One of my daughters is coming home for a short visit. I’ve got an editing job. There’s a holiday during these two weeks so others will be home. So much for a writing retreat right at home.

It’s been a long time since I’ve indulged in yarn shopping like this. I’ve been working to use up my stash. This was fun and well worth it. Thank you Vicki for my two gifts – birthday and Christmas. Guess what’s on my list for this Christmas.

Getting a Project Started

Recently I pulled out a bag of yarn and said, I’m going to use up all of these cakes. I only had one skein or cake of each color. This limits what I can make from these as they were each multi-colored. Combining the colors was not really an option.

I decided I was going to design a bunch of scarves for a booklet. Now who wanted the product? Well a variety of people. A couple of nieces, a daughter, a couple of friends, a nephew all volunteered to take the end product.

These videos (and these are only my second set of videos so please be kind) show how to get started with a project.

Items needed for a crochet project
Getting started and yarn issues
The beginning chain – or foundation crochet
The beginning of the pattern

Now after I shot these videos, I realized I didn’t like the pattern I show so I made some changes. Okay a lot of changes. I did still start with a foundation single crochet (fsc) but the pattern was completely different.

Final Product

How I Design

I’ve made my own patterns for decades. I love using yarn and my hook to make something that I need or want. My obsession with crochet started at 12 and has worked it’s way from something fun to a passion.

I like the exploration of designing and the creativity. What does it look like if I combine this stitch with this stitch? Or what happens when I use this technique in a little different way?

Here is a series of videos where I talk about design. They are short (around a minute) and experimental on my part. I’ve never done videos before so please be kind about the unprofessional camera work.

Video 1 on designing a crochet pattern
Video 2 on designing a crochet pattern
Video 3 on designing a crochet pattern
Video 4 on designing a crochet pattern
Video 5 on designing a crochet pattern
Video 6 on designing a crochet pattern

These videos should give a basic outline of what I go through when I design a project. I spend a lot of time considering what the yarn will look like, how it will work up, and what the individual will like. I also take into consideration the purpose of the project. All of these thoughts go into the design and then there’s the oh shit that’s not going to work moment where I end up ripping out and starting new or changing the design completely.

Open for Business.

I took the plunge today and started my shop on my website. This is an exciting step for me. I’m able to offer discounts and sales more easily than anywhere else.

Right now there’s only a few items listed. I’ve got two book series listed for sale and a few crochet patterns which can be downloaded right from my site!

This shop feature is one of the reasons I switched to the new website. It offers me the opportunity to have more control over the price of my items. There are a variety of features which offer a lot of options that aren’t available elsewhere.

Please go to the Shop and wander around. At the bottom on the product page is a place for you to like a product, if you so wish.

Over the next few weeks, my plan is to add all of my books, short stories, and crochet patterns. I also plan to add completed crochet items which will be one time offers available to the first person to purchase.

Nine of Eleven

Today I went with one of my nieces craft shopping.  I used gift cards and holiday cash to make all of my purchases!  The other great thing is everything I bought was on sale – everything.  So not only did I get great deals and the materials I wanted but I didn’t spend a penny out of my own account.  Thank you to my faculty at my job, one family member, and a friend.  They made this relaxing day completely possible!

Joanns has a great sale on and I stocked up on crochet cotton.  I can’t lie – the $1 a skein made me nearly clean out their display of the colors they had.  Then I hit the aisles to look for yarn for two blankets, one scarf and other crochet cotton (also on sale) which had different colors.  The per ounce price (yes I figured out for each of the brands on sale) for the $1 per skein was FABULOUS.  I got most of what I wanted – though I never get enough yarn.

My niece and I had a lovely day together, spending time and chatting.  We went to Burnie’s rock shop as well.  It was crowded and busy and yet we both managed to find items to purchase.

I have an afghan nearly done for her and I was hoping to surprise her with it today but at 12:30 last night I gave it up and said nope… too much left to do.  I’ll keep working on it and hope to get it done in the next week or two.

Aside from her blanket, I’m going to be at the Whitewater library on January 19, so I plan to make a few small things which can hopefully fill up my table and make some sales.  At this point, I’m thinking coasters and dishcloths but I want to consult my list to see if I can come up with other things.

While at Joann’s today, I picked up pins to use for blocking several pairs of earrings, bracelets and a bookmark.  Once they’ve dried, I’ll have to find buttons for the bracelets and those can come with me to the sale as well.

I feel like I’m getting caught up.  Tomorrow I plan to work on crochet patterns – publishing and posting.  I’ve got a long list of them to work on so I’m hoping to get a large chunk of them done.  I have new patterns which include two leaflets (meaning multiple patterns) to publish.  I have three groups of patterns I’ve not posted on Ravelry and need to get those up there.  This is the task which takes the longest.  I’m hoping to get through all of them before I go back to work so the next two day I think will be taken up with those.

I’m winding down on my days off.  I feel good about the progress I’ve made with projects.  Before this time off, I always felt like I was falling further and further behind.  Now I feel caught up and ready to move forward.

If I manage to get through the crochet patterns, I think I’m going to work on the short story I had professionally edited – it was so mangled from all the different version, I needed to help with it.

I’m at the end of my day and feel really good.  It was good to get one on one with my niece and to shop for things I love.  Now I get to play with all of it, making things for others who will hopefully really appreciate the goodies.

For Sanity’s Sake

I’ve got three more days of work before I have eleven off.  I swear someone has slowed time just to torment me.  I really want it to be Friday so I can get started with the time off.

With a long long long list of stuff to do, I cannot decide what I want to do first.  There are commitments for the holidays but I’m hoping to be able to have a couple days to do only what I want to do.  Let’s be real – write.  I want to work on writing.

I’ve got Wild Magic 2 in the edit phase which I need to enter the edits I’ve done on the computer.  Do a read through and then probably print out and edit again.

Seven Sisters – working title – is also in the works.  I want to finish writing this so I can move it to the editing pile.  Sequels are pushing at me.  One is a longer one which will take time but the other will take a little more plotting out – maybe.  Generally I don’t plot things out because I never end up where I’ve plotted things.

As well as the writing projects, I have piles and piles of photo albums I need to work through in order to get them online for the family.  I’m talking hundreds I think and probably thousands of photos.  I will not be scanning every single photo but I do want to get the family pictures and a sampling of mom’s photography.  After the albums are done, we  have the same amount of slides which we will have to deal with.

Now I know all of that won’t get done over my time off but I want to make a start.  I’m hoping I can make a dent and do a few a weekend or something like that.  I’ll have to set up a system.

The holidays are approaching.  I’m not interested. I don’t know any other way to say it.  When I think of the holidays it makes me sad.  This leads to grumpy.  I’m trying not to think about it but… In a good year I have issues at the holidays and this has not been a good year.

I’ve been working on Christmas gifts / holiday items for crocheting.  I got a number of them done but I have two skeins of yarn I want to make up – mostly because I have a bunch of crochet patterns which I want to publish and these skeins will fit nicely with them.  I also think I have people who may want them.

Now if they don’t take them, I will be doing a City Market at the Whitewater Library (I hope) in January (and possibly other months).  I can always put them on the table to sell for that event.  I think though they will get snapped up before then.  I have one more pair of slippers to get done before Christmas day.  I need a break from them though as I did a bunch.  I find them tedious and annoying.  For some reason, I can usually only do about half a slipper at each sitting.

Right now I have to get pictures of two projects – can’t talk about the one as it’s a gift.  Once I get those pictures, I need to ship the one out.  The other gift will be hand delivered.  I LOVE how the two projects turned out and can’t wait to share the patterns.

New Crochet Patterns!

There are six new crochet patterns available on Amazon and Smashwords.  They will be available more places in a couple of days.  These have been done patterns but I just haven’t had time to go through all the steps for publishing.  I hope you like them.  

Thread Bookmarks
Need a small gift? Looking for items to make for a craft fair? Try these eight easy bookmarks. Made with crochet cotton, they work up quick allowing you to build inventory.
Amazon
Smashwords

Braided Scarf
For the beginner, this pattern is easy to assemble while offering a stunning end product. The chain group weaves into a braided look for this extra long scarf.
Amazon
Smashwords



Spiral Hat
Round and round you go, working two colors in tandem. This styling hat is warm and fun.
Amazon
Smashwords


Tree Hanging
Made with single crochet, this wall hanging adds a seasonal touch to any room. Use the copper (as shown) for a fall flare, or green for a summer flare. Use white or silver for a winter look and spring, simply add some small light green French knots.
Amazon
Smashwords


Triangular Doily
Light and different, this doily works up nicely to provide a beautiful decoration for any room. Worked in crochet cotton size 10, this is durable as well as decorative.
Amazon
Smashwords

Triple Triangle Afghan
Worked with triple crochets, this works up in under twelve hours.  The pattern is easy for the beginner and makes a beautiful blanket for your home or as a gift.
​Amazon
Smashwords

End of the Year Hustle

The family got through mom’s possessions.  We got them divided up, organized and sent off to the appropriate sibling or charity.  This includes the difficult task of dividing up her jewelry.  Saturday was a very long and emotional day.

Now I’m working on gifts and projects.  I had five student worker gifts to make – can’t say what at this point.  Since Sunday I’ve gotten four of them done.  I’m hoping to make the last one tonight.  I’ll take pictures of them as they are new patterns and then ask my husband to please wrap them. 

This is the rest of my immediate needs for crocheting:

  • 3 baby bibs – moved up because the publication changed the date for the issue they’re going in
  • gift for my daughter’s boyfriend – again can’t say
  • blanket for the woman who organized my blog post
  • slipper socks for my niece
  • scarf and hat set for a client
I think these are the immediate needs.  I am still working on a blanket for my niece which I may submit to the publication – I may be too late for the issue.  I have to check since they rearranged dates of issues.
I’m hoping to get all of these done within the two weeks.  After I get these done, I’m going to think about making things for the markets I’m hoping to participate in.  However, I have a lot of writing things to get done as well.  
I’m sure I’m going to be bouncing back and forth between tasks.  It’s all a balancing act for me to keep moving forward in both of these areas.  
I’ve been feeling too scattered so I wrote up a to do list for my writing.  I need to break down some of the tasks into pieces so I can check them off but I’m hoping with the list, I’ll be able to focus a little better and spend less time bouncing around and more time accomplishing things.  
Work is winding down for the end of the semester so this means I can think about more things.  I’ve also got a long eleven days off over the holidays.  I’m looking forward to this as I’ll actually have about three days in the house alone.  I’m hoping those will be productive days for writing.  On the days where I’m sharing the house with other people I’ll work on things like posting patterns on Ravelry or marketing as that is easier to be interrupted than writing.  
I’m also hoping to start going through some of the photo albums of my mothers.  This is going to be a task as there are dozens of them if not hundreds.  Without a doubt there are thousands of pictures to look through, determine if they are good enough to scan, and pick the ones the family will be interested in.  My mother was a prolific photographer who snapped shots of everything.  Collectively, we’ve already decided we can’t keep them all and there isn’t time to scan them all.  Still it’s a big job and will take time.  I’m hoping to take a few hours on one of my days off and work through a number of them.  
After I get done with the pictures, the next thing will be the slides.  This is going to be time consuming as well.  Both my parents took a lot of pictures.  This means I’ve got lots of slides to go through from the beginning of their marriage to about the 70s (I think).  This will be slow going as well.  
All of this should keep me very busy through the end of the year.  I’m hoping to rest a bit during my eleven days off and come back to my day job a little less stressed.  I’m also hoping to get quite a bit of work done while I’m off.