Not the post I planned to write

I got back from TNNA last week. I spent the remainder of last week recovering from the travel and the stress of that. As many of you know (because I’ve always been honest about it), I have fibromyalgia. For the most part, I do quite well and manage what my “normal” is for me. I say it like that because it’s not the normal I used to have. Anyway, trips and such always throw me off a bit and I struggle upon return to get through the fog and the fatigue and the pain to be able to function again. I’m just about there now.

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw me post about making some big decisions and getting clarity on direction. I promised an explanation upon my return. I had planned to wait a few weeks to get everything planned out in my head. But, as the days went on without a blog post from me, my fingers kept wanting to type this one out instead of the two I was going to write (don’t worry, those will come in the next couple of weeks).

Long time followers likely know that over this last year or so I’ve had a lot of changes in my personal life. Big, earth shaking, stress-inducing changes. I held on tight, kept my head down, and made it through. I’ve worked more over the last year than I’ve worked the other three years I’ve been designing full time. And now I’m at this point.

I’m burned out. I pushed past the first warning signs of it because I had to. And now I’m to the point that I haven’t even been crocheting for fun. In fact, a sign to everyone (when they heard) that I was seriously burned out was the fact that I read on the plane to TNNA. In the last four years that I’ve traveled by plane, I have always crocheted. Always. Until this trip. I almost didn’t pack any crochet with me, but I had a custom piece someone ordered from me that I needed to do.

TNNA yielded long talks with those I respect and trust, quiet time sitting alone thinking, and a lot of decisions being made. That sounds ominous and stuff. Sorry. Some may wonder why I’m sharing this here. Well, I’ve always believed in being honest about this business. Good, bad, ugly, indifferent, I was determined not to just put on a happy smiley face and pretend that it was all good if it wasn’t. And I’m a firm believer that someone out there may need to hear this right now.

When I got home, I read this blog post by Goddess Leonie. I’ve been reading her for a few months now and most of the time she posts about things right around the time I needed them. 🙂 This blog post was one of them. When I read it, I knew that I was on the right path.

So here it is.

I’m taking a break. I’m not sure how long. I have one last deadline project to finish and then I’m stopping for a bit. Somewhere in all the busy and crazy deadlines and work for other companies and publications I’ve lost my inspiration and mojo. So I need to find it again. I need to find why I fell in love with this crazy business in the first place. And I need to find the joy and bliss in having fiber run through my fingers.

The plan at the moment is that when I come back (it’s transferred to a “when” instead of an “if”…already that’s progress) I will focus exclusively on my own design line. I have ideas, y’all, I just need the time and space to work on them. And the plate spinning I’ve been doing is starting to lead to cracked plates and a mess. It’s hard to crochet when you’re sweeping up broken plates.

I still have a lot of blog posts to write, and will likely do them throughout the break. I have tons of cool products to review that I received during the Marly Bird Designer Dinner. Honestly, there were some fabulous sponsors and I plan on writing reviews of each of the products they gave us. I also have a few more patterns that were done over the last year that are finally coming out and I want to talk about them, too.

So, you’re not getting rid of me right away. And I hope that I’ll be able to tap back into some creativity. If anything, the good sign is that I started a lace crochet project (not my design, just clicking off the designer brain for a bit and enjoying yarn) to take with me on my vacation next week. Last week, that wasn’t even a consideration on the packing list.

And if it’s not too much to ask, good thoughts and all that are always welcome. I’m also dealing with some ramifications from my fibromyalgia as I come out of the non-stop stress and work mode. Which is likely why this post is a bit rambly. 🙂

Blog Tour Stop: Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook

I first met Ellen Gormley last year at the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH. I will admit, I was nervous. See, sometimes, I have trouble believing I’m a “grownup designer”, so when I meet other designers, I’m still a little star-struck. 🙂 Ellen is wonderful and so giving and kind.

Unfortunately, following what is now becoming a trend, I apparently do not have a photo of just Ellen and me together from conference. However, unlike with Karen’s blog tour, I do have a photo with Ellen (and our little gang that week, apologies everyone, you’re popping up, too!):

Ellen is standing behind and to the right of me.

Anyway, I was thrilled and excited about being a stop on her blog tour for her new book: Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workshop. When she told me the book was on its way to me, I waited with baited breath. Seriously, I’ve seen her work, I knew this had to be awesome. Also, I love motifs. Living in Florida, it’s the easiest way to make blankets because you can work on small motifs during the summer and then put it together in the winter (or on a day you’re willing to blast the a/c really low). 🙂

When the book came in, I immediately stopped what I was doing and flipped through it. This book is very well done. Now, other bloggers have talked about the bigger things: the motifs, the finished blanket patterns, and the great tips and tricks. All these are fabulous and you should definitely check out this book for those things. However, I want to talk about the first thing that grabbed me about this book….

The details!

I tend to notice the little things. Attention to detail makes my brain happy. These are things I’m not sure everyone else notices right away, but I did. So I’m going to talk about them.

Here’s a pic of one of the rectangle motif pages:

Do you see what I see? The colors up in the corner on those little boxes match the awesome colors in the motif! How cool is that? And what I didn’t show you was that the colors in the stitch diagram also coordinate.

Now, here’s what’s really cool. See those little boxes up in the corner? I thought they were just some nifty art trick to add interest. Until I got to the pages with other shapes. Here’s a page from the octagon section:

Do you see that???? The shape in the corner matches the motif shape! Ack! My little over organized brain had a total happy moment right then.

Another cool thing? This is a spiral bound book. Which means it will lay flat while you crochet. LOVE this!

More about the book:

The motifs are separated into the various sections depending upon the shape (squares, rectangles, triangles, hexagons, and octagons). There are ten motifs of each shape and she not only shows you these motifs, she shows you which of the other motifs in the book will coordinate with it.

In the beginning of each motif section, Ellen tells you how to best lay out the motifs to put them together. In the beginning of the book, she talks about the various ways to connect motifs together. If you’ve ever avoided doing motifs because of the joining, check this section out. It will change your mind.

I also love that she has a section on color choice. I have the hardest time with colors and figuring out what goes with what. Even after taking three years of art classes in high school. So, to get some real tips and tricks really helps.

Finally, at the end of the book are ten different afghan patterns using the motifs in the book. They range from beginner (and stunning) to an advanced one that uses every one of the motifs in the book. LOVE!

If you’re like me, and you love motifs, do yourself a favor and go get this book! It is definitely one that will reside on my “easy to get to” shelf.

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