Monday, August 18, 2014

Patterns & Pages, Books & Blogs

I hit a milestone last week. My patterns, on Ravelry & Craftsy combined, now have over 40,000 unique downloads in less than 9 months. Woo hoo! I never thought I would have 40 downloads total when I posted that first pattern (Orlando) so I am more than a little excited to have that many. This small success on the road to, well I am not really sure where this road is leading me to, but the next two stops along the way involve writing. The first is this blog. I have also decided to venture a little deeper into the designer pond and doggie paddle my way into the deep end of the publishing pool.

Let Creativity Rule. (I have an Alex and Ani bangle that confirms this.)

It's been a bit cool in Boston lately, especially for the dog days of August, and I am already busy designing and stitching new patterns. I have two new infinity scarves using DK weight yarn, and a bunch of new hats I am busy working on for the book proposal. I also am working on a bag to be submitted for the 101 Little One Skein Crochet Wonders book. The hat patterns will not be published on Ravelry or Craftsy, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future, but I hope to offer at least one of the patterns, free, to people who decide to follow this blog. Yes, it is a form of blackmail but I have no shame. More on the hats and some pics of the new designs cooming soon.

Keep Calm & Crochet On 

I take mass transit everywhere. Our subway is called the "T" and I used it over the weekend to go to one of my favorite independent bookstores, Harvard Bookstore. (  It's right in the heart of Harvard Square and if you are ever in the Boston/Cambridge area it's a great place to visit. The staff is amazing. 

They were having a sale, it was a tax free weekend here in MA and it was a convenient excuse to indulge and buy a few new hardcover books I had been coveting. I'm sure I will be writing more about my selections here soon. I told myself I was only going to buy one book for a friend. Ahh how easy it is for me to deceive myself. 

It's a quick trip in on the red line branch of the T, and my friend Brian and I headed in. About three stops into the trip a woman got on the train with a crocheted bag. It wasn't handmade, it was manufactured, but I LOVED the striping sequence. So I dug into my bag, pulled out my handy, dandy, ever present sketchbook and began to write down pattern sequences and draw the purse. Because I have to tinker with everything creative (it's a sad, sad disease I am infected with) I modified it while I was transcribing it. I have some cotton yarn in a fern green and a bright copper that will work perfectly. I don't know if I was more excited about a new pattern prospect or the new books. The new hairstyle I had done on Saturday morning,  that I really like btw, came in a distant third on the "exciting things I did this weekend" list.


The soundtrack to this post was the album Kick by INXS

Currently Reading: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. 

Orlando helped with this post by walking across the keyboard twice while I was writing and typed a bunch of letters I had to erase. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Coming Soon

I have two new patterns that will hopefully be up sometime this week. The samples are done which is half the battle. I took some quick pics today for the blog. They will need better ones for uploading, and I still have to transform the instructions from my design notebook to Word files, but I wanted to give everyone here a sneak peek. :)

First up is a currently unnamed, super simple, long sleeved, green shrug.  It's very basic, a great project for beginners. It started with my desire for a quick easy piece I could use that would comfortably fit with a casual look or with something a little more dressy. I like to wear tank tops but unfortunately I don't have the upper arms to accessorize those tank tops so I need a little bit of coverage. This shrug fit all of those needs. It uses a DK weight yarn and a K hook so it has a nice lacy look from a simple pattern of single and double crochets. 

The other project is a hat. It's tentatively called Toto. I have mixed feelings about this one. Some days I love it, some days I don't. Although the Styrofoam head that is wearing it doesn't seem too impressed. :)

I wanted to create a slouchy hat that could be worn in the summer and have a lot of interest from the back.  It does both of those things but it wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I started. The designers dilemma. I might need to make one for a test run on the streets of Boston before it goes up on Ravelry. Stay tuned. 

I am also working on two new scarf projects. The first draft of the patterns are in the handy dandy notebook and I am working on the first samples now. One is a project I can take with me during my daily commute and the other one involves color work so that is an at home project. 

More on those two soon. I am off to watch the delightful David Tennant on Masterpiece Mystery. Yeah!

Be Well!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Bella Shrug

Well, I guess there is no more hiding in the craft room quietly crocheting. Since I have started sharing my patterns I have been astonished, a little overwhelmed and awestruck at the generosity, kindness and creativity of everyone I have communicated with in the fiber arts community.  All of that means more to me than I could ever express in a few words on this blog. So, since I am getting page hits in large numbers I thought it was about time that I actually start posting and sharing here.

The Sophia Infinity Scarf
I posted a few new patterns this week on Craftsy & Ravelry. Cascade Yarns was kind enough to post one of my patterns, the Sophia Infinity Scarf,  on their Facebook page. Thank you to all of the nice people at Cascade Yarns for posting the pic and link, and also for making reasonably priced yarn I love. No they are not paying me or bribing me with free yarn. :)

The Sophia Infinity Scarf has been a hit, but the Bella Shrug  has been far and away the shining star of the new patterns. I have been floored at the number of downloads it has gotten in just 3 days. I am also so excited that it has been hovering in the top 5 on Ravelry for crochet patterns too! Thank you to everyone who has downloaded or favorited the pattern. I adore each and every one of you marvelous people. That's one of the things I love most about designing and sharing my patterns with everyone. The ones I think are going to be big hits rarely are. The dark horses are the ones that always come out of no where and take on a life of their own. I almost didn't publish the Bella Shrug.

I have been crocheting since I was 7. My aunt & grandmother taught me. Most likely to keep me quiet so they could have 5 minutes peace, but whatever the reason I am grateful they did. I have always created things on whimsy but never wrote them down. I made it and off it went into the cosmos. The Bella Shrug was my very first attempt at sitting down and creating a written pattern based on one of my designs. I thought it would be a simple process. It wasn't, at least for me. It's been a few years, a lot of frogging and a lot of rookie mistakes. I have always been proud of that design and have made quite a few of them as gifts. Over the years it's been revised and rewritten in my design notebooks, but never quite there as a completed pattern. When I finally found the courage to venture out and start publishing & sharing some of my designs the Bella Shrug was one of the ones I had hoped to publish. I just never thought it was ready. Part of me is a little nervous that it's not ready now too, but it was time and I have been touched and thrilled by the response to my first design child!

The Bella Shrug

Next time more about the projects I am working on this week!