Update coming soon

I’m home, I’m exhausted, and I have a nice case of what is affectionately called “Con Crud” (comes from picking up new and interesting germs from people attending conventions).

Update will come later. I don’t have all my pictures (Margarita took a lot more than me) so once I get them all together, I’ll update.

I will say, that even considering how I’m feeling right now, the trip was totally worth it. I met a lot of great people that I’ve been corresponding with for a while now, I made a lot of great business contacts, and I learned a lot that will help my designing career take off.

Oh, and I won honorable mention in the Design Contest for this little piece:



I’m very excited about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

More later, the sofa is calling me for another nap. ๐Ÿ™‚

Chainlink 2009

So much for trying to update each day. ๐Ÿ™‚

This post has no pics because I want to take a few more before I start posting pics.

But we flew in Tuesday and got here around 6pm that night. The room is nice and good sized for the two of us. I didn’t get much sleep Tuesday night but got to hang out with a lot of great people.

Wednesday morning was Professional Development Day. I totally walked out without my camera so I have no pictures from that. It was really interesting and I learned a lot. I sat with the fellow members of the Cyber Chapter of the CGOA. I ended up having to come up to the room during the afternoon breakout sessions because I was just too tired to think straight. I did win a door prize, though. Some Tahki Stacey Charles cotton in a great green color and a pattern book I’ve been lusting after.

I also got to meet with my mentee while there. I did get a picture of the two of us, and I’m really happy about that. It was nice to put faces to names.

Last night I had dinner with an editor and have a few things that will be going to review so that’s good. Then I came back to the room and wove in ends on a top I wanted to wear today.

This morning was class time and I learned so much. If you ever get the chance to take a class with Lily Chin…do it. I took another one of her classes in Orlando a couple of years ago. Today’s class was on Fine Shaping. I am inspired and armed with great knowledge to finally get the yarn to do what I can see in my head.

After class was a quick walk through the local street market and I grabbed a hot dog. Being the Florida gal that I am, this is the first time I’ve ever had a hot dog from a street vendor. It was good, too.

We had a short Cyber Chapter meeting after lunch and then I came back to the room. I have some things I need to do before tomorrow. I also met with Mary Beth because I’m doing the technical bits of the Getting Loopy show tonight. I’ll be sitting up here running the switchboard and chat room while Mary Beth is on the show floor interviewing and reporting about the show and the market. Should be tons of fun.

Tomorrow I have a full day class with Lily Chin. I gotta finish my homework for it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I better get going. I promise to give a wrap up and pictures either this weekend or when I get home. The internet is a bit slow here and that will make photo uploading tiresome.

Stitch n Pitch 2009

This year’s Stitch n Pitch was a Sunday afternoon game against the Royals. I went this year with my parents, my brother, and my 12 year old niece. We got there about half an hour before the game and picked up our goody bags. And yes, my dad and my brother picked up bags, too. I was a bit disappointed (especially after last year’s really good bags) since other than the yarn, the whole thing was knit-centric. There was a great pattern book but it was all knitting. There were also double point knitting needles in there.

Here’s my bag:

And here’s the yarn haul (from mine and my brother’s bag since he was so gracious to give me his). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lots of artsy yarn that I don’t know what I’m going to do with. Oh well, in the stash it goes.

I was shocked because there were no vendors this year. This made me sad as I was all about picking up some more sock yarn. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh well, I’ll just get yarn this week at conference.

We got settled into our seats and Josalynne and I started crocheting. I had taught her when she was younger, but she was too young to pick it up well. So we pulled out her book and her hooks and yarn and got started on a little project (a fish toy for a cat). She picked it up right away!

Here’s her starting her fish:

And a closeup:

And after an hour or so, she was reading the pattern on her own and figuring out what she needed to do. And here it is finished (other than the seaming and all that…yeah, I know, passing on bad habits of calling something done before it’s really done):

And here’s a great shot of the two of us:

I got the report today that when she got back to my parents’ house, she pulled out the hook and yarn and started crocheting. She told my mom, “I think I just made something awesome.” What did she make? A top for her doll. On her own with no pattern. Yeah, taking after the aunt! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also heard that she’s been crocheting all day. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to try to plan a visit out there once every other week to keep working with her. Warms my heart, it does. ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, so I’m out. Bags are packed, homework is currently being done, and I want to relax this evening before I go to bed. Gotta get up bright and early to go to the airport (we’re leaving at 6am). I’m going to do my best to post from Chain Link, but if nothing else, you can follow my Twitter. ๐Ÿ™‚ See ya on the flip side!

T minus 4 days

I leave Tuesday for Chain Link. I am so excited about this! It seems like just yesterday it was months away and now it’s less than a week!

All my work-related stuff is done. Portfolio put together, design concepts sketched, swatched, and assembled. Now I just need to finish this one top and start and finish another one. No pressure. Oh, and make a gift for the gift exchange. ๐Ÿ™‚ But that’s okay, my idea for it is really fast so if nothing else, it’ll get done while we’re waiting for our connecting flight.

I’ve got a busy couple of days ahead of me. Today I need to finish this top. Tomorrow we need to do our running around that we typically do on Sunday because I’m going to Stitch n Pitch with my parents, my brother, and my niece. I’m really excited about this because even though I taught her to crochet years ago, she’s finally expressing an interest in really learning. So she’ll get to learn how while we’re at the game. And I’ll get to spend an afternoon with her.

Monday will be last minute laundry, packing, and cleaning the studio (I want to come home to it nice and clean). We leave for the airport early on Tuesday and our flight is around 10:30. Margarita’s mom will be flying out about an hour prior to us, so we want to make sure we’re there to see her off as well.

I will be trying to post each day while at Chain Link. I cannot guarantee I will be able to do it (who knows what kind of fun things will be happening each night!). However, I will be Twittering the entire time, so feel free to either follow me (@TracieCrochets) or read the side bar here for details. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do promise a follow up post with photos and such if I don’t get to it while I’m there. Granted, I won’t tell you everything ’cause, well, what happens at conference stays at conference. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve learned well already!

Oh, and CLF members, or those interested in being CLF members….find me at Chain Link for some nifty things from Fearless Leader. I am her faithful minion and ringleader at this event since she won’t be there.

I will try to post again on Monday to show off my latest project and Stitch n Pitch, if I have time. Have a great weekend!

Getting ready for Chain Link

The first thing I’m super excited about is I just got a new pair of shoes. I spent a bit more than I typically would have on shoes, but John and I agreed that it’s worth it to get a good pair. So I went through Clarks (he shops from them for work shoes and loves them). Picked up a pair of their Un.Structured line called Un.Whirl. I picked them because they’re Mary Jane style and I wanted shoes that would show off my crocheted socks. Why yes, I am buying these specifically for wearing at Chain Link to show off socks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wanna see?

See how well they show off my socks? And they’re super comfortable right out of the box. I read so many reviews to find a pair that would be comfortable for walking. And these are. The socks I have on are my thickest crocheted socks, and so while they’re a bit snug, I know they’ll be fine with the rest of them.

Today has been spent putting the finishing touches on my notebook for Chain Link. I learned from Dee at Crochet With Dee, that having a notebook prepared and ready is really great. Here is her post explaining it. I thought I’d show you mine.

This is the front of my notebook. I created a schedule for both Margarita and I that shows where each of us will be for the week. Makes it easy to figure out if we’ll be available if the other wants to do something.

In the inside pocket I currently have my credentials, my travel info, and an envelope to put $5 in for a commemorative pin. The travel info and credentials will move to my planner so I have it in my carry on while traveling. ๐Ÿ™‚ The binder is a bit heavy and I don’t know yet if it’ll go in the carry on or not. My design concepts book and portfolio are going in my carry on because I don’t want to lose them. ๐Ÿ™‚

I like having spiral notebooks rather than just loose leaf paper. So I bought 3. Okay, maybe a bit of overkill, but I can carry one around at a time. I didn’t want to just do one in case I ended up taking a bunch of notes at Professional Development Day. I have dividers for each section of things that I’m going to (PDD, PDD lunch, PDD afternoon breakout sessions, my Thursday class, and my Friday class).

Here’s a shot of my spiral notebook in there:

And the dividers I’m using have pockets. In the ones for my classes, I’ve got the graph paper I need and an envelope for my materials fee. Now I won’t have to scramble the day of to make sure I have cash.

And the first page under each class divider is the printout of the class description. I also have a post-it with a list of what I need to pack for the class.

I also got a pencil pouch because I need my colored pencils for one of my classes. This seemed the easiest way to carry them.

I also have these magazine holders. I’m going to take a few along with extra sheet protectors.

So, that’s my tour of my conference notebook. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also printed my portfolio today and got it all ready. It’s neat to see all my work in one location. I also started swatching today for the designs I’m taking to show.

I also had ordered a shirt and tote bag with the commemorative logo on them. I’m stealing another of Dee’s ideas (hey, she comes up with great ideas!), and I’m going to get some pens to write on the bag. It’s going to look like yearbook day while we’re at Chain Link, many of us are going to run around and grab signatures from our fellow members on our bags.

I love the bag as it’s wider and not quite as deep as my other one I got from Cafe Press. So this will be my carry bag while I’m there. I’ll likely roll it up and put it in my suitcase or my carry on for traveling. It’ll all depend on where it fits best. I thought of taking my rolling yarn tote for my carry on, but I don’t want to have to fight with it and my suitcase. So instead, I’m looking to take John’s old laptop backpack (it’s too small for his current laptop) so I can carry my laptop and two notebooks. I’ll carry a sock in my “personal” bag I’m allowed. And yes, I do have my packing list started. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a good weekend everyone! Mine will blissfully be spent here at home as we don’t have anywhere we have to go. The last two weekends were tied up with family things. So I’ll be crocheting away while home.

Lots of stuff

Ah, I’ve got a moment to breathe, so you get an update and some photos!

First off, the things I’ve been working on and have out the door:

And….a finished project that I can actually show you!

That’s the Cap-Sleeve Top from Mary Jane Hall’s Crochet That Fits. I love it. I’m going to wear it at conference. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m also still making progress on my Roma Babydoll top (no real pics yet as it’s still in the stage where it doesn’t look like much). I also found a pattern for a tank top out of the Bernat Bamboo I’ve had forever. I’m probably going to whip that up to have an extra top.

I’m still working on another tank top for wearing to the meet and greet. I likely won’t show pics of that in case I get super lucky and it’s bought off my back! LOL.

I have also finished the Design Contest entry, but as I’ve said before…I’m paranoid so pictures won’t be posted until after the deadline.

I really wish I could show you the project I’m working on now. It’s for publication and it’s just the sweetest little project. But I can’t. ๐Ÿ™ I’ll see if I can snag a sneak peek pic before I send it off. I’m very proud of it.

That’s all from me for right now. As Dee (of CrochetWithDee fame) says, we only have 6 weeks until conference. I’ve got to get busy!

Whoops, lost another week!

I got a lot of great feedback from the Getting Loopy show I was on last week. I hoped everyone who listened found it interesting and entertaining. Mary Beth is a ton of fun and I have a feeling the two of us could have chatted for hours over the phone. ๐Ÿ™‚

So what did I work on last week? Well, in the first part of the week I worked on a design idea that I want to wear while at Chainlink. I got the front done, and am now working on the back.

While working on that, I got word that yarn is coming my way for a design that got accepted. I’m really excited about that design as it will be my first published garment design. It’s also a step up along my list of goals. ๐Ÿ™‚ So I’m very excited about that. More when I can tell you more!

At the end of the week I received yarn for a project with a super fast turnaround. Thankfully it was a fast and fun project with a delightful yarn (I cannot wait to tell you about this yarn, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy since it’s not even out yet). I swatched and wrote the pattern on Friday night and then did all the crocheting on Saturday. I took Sunday off and then blocked and shipped it on Monday morning.

So far this week I’ve been working on my sketches for my design notebook to take with me to Chainlink. Today I finally got a format down that I like and was able to complete 5-6 design sketches (including schematics). Tomorrow will be more of the same.

And now, being the queen of quick turnarounds, I got offered today two more projects with a fast turnaround. Thankfully, these will be quick projects. The yarn should arrive on Thursday and I will ship Monday morning. That’s the plan as of right now. If I can get really busting on them, I might be able to ship on Saturday. That would be even more awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

So why do I take all these quick turnaround projects? Well, for one, it keeps my skills up. I have always done better with deadlines. And the other reason (which happens to be the main one)? Because the money will all come in just before Chainlink providing me with the opportunity to be able to buy things at the marketplace. ๐Ÿ™‚ And, you know, eat.

So that’s what’s been going on here. Tonight I plan to work more on my blue sparkle top. All I have left to do is finish the second cap sleeve and then do the edgings. I don’t know if I’ll get it all finished tonight, but I’m going to try. Hopefully I’ll have pictures soon!

Have a good week everyone!

Lots of things

Two afghans are now on their way via UPS to the yarn company. That’s right, they’re DONE! Whew. Shipped a week before the due date, they’ll be there by Thursday. Such a relief to have them done. My contact just wrote and loved the pictures I sent her of them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wanna see?

Granted, my contact got much wider shots than that! ๐Ÿ™‚

I was going to go to the fitness center at our community center but the migraine I’ve been dealing with all weekend is trying to come back. So instead I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing to prepare for tonight.

That’s right, tonight’s the night! Tune in at 9pm EST to Getting Loopy to hear about my journey as a new designer. For anyone who’s been interested in learning how to get started, what does it take to do this full time, etc, tune in tonight! Should be a lot of fun.

My family has agreed to go to Stitch ‘n’ Pitch with us! And my brother, being the speedy guy he is, already got our tickets. So, three days before I go to conference, I’ll be at the Rays/Royals game. ๐Ÿ™‚ Should be a lot of fun. I think my mom will enjoy being able to knit while she watches the game. I just hope that Daddy and Sean don’t feel too out of place. This will be John’s first SnP, too (he wasn’t sure he was going to go, but now he has a ticket, so he has to!).

Did you know that this year is the 15th anniversary of the CGOA? Well, it is! And there’s a logo design contest for the commemorative pins that will be for sale at the conference. And I’ve come up with an idea. I just need to sketch it a bit nicer and then scan and upload. That may be what I work on the rest of the day.

Now that the afghans are done I will get back to work on my design contest entry and items for Chainlink. Lots to do. I’m almost done with my blue sparkly top. I have it sewn together and just need to do the straps and the edgings.

Well, I’m done for now. I hope you all tune in tonight to the Getting Loopy show! If you’re unable to, that same link should take you to the archived show after tonight. ๐Ÿ™‚

Trying to stay on schedule

I have a lovely white board in my studio that currently has a schedule for prepping for Chainlink. And I’m sorta on track. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not worried, I had worked into the schedule the chance that I got sidetracked. And the only things I’m behind on are clothes for me to wear.

I am nearly done with my entry into the CGOA Design Contest. I have to rip back my morning’s work on the top edging because I just don’t like it. Ah, the joys of being a perfectionist. No worries, it won’t take me long to get back to that point. Then I’ll move on to the finishing on the back, and then all I have left to do is the Irish Crochet embellishments for the front. Nope, no pictures until after July 15th. It’s not that I don’t trust people, but I don’t trust people. ๐Ÿ™‚ Once the deadline for entry has passed, I’ll post pictures both here and in Ravelry.

After I finish that project (hopefully today), then I will be working on a garment design to wear to Chainlink for the Designer Meet & Greet. I’ve got most of the math done for it, I just had a hiccup in it last week when I was working on it and need to redo that. It should only take me a couple of days or so to work on.

Once those are done, then I’ll be working on sketches and swatches to take with me. I have a ton of ideas to sketch out and put into my presentation book. I’m hoping to have a very full binder when I leave and a very empty binder when I return. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also have one more submission to get put together and out the door before I leave. But I’ve got a bit before that’s due and I can likely do it as an email submission.

Now, for things I’m making for myself to wear while up there? Yeah, I’ve got 1 out of 3 done. But, I’m about 14 rows away from finishing the back on my sparkle top. Then it’s just the straps and assembly and edgings. It might actually get done this week. The third one I’ve just started, but I’m hoping to get it done in a couple of weeks.

So, I might be a bit behind, but I’m doing okay. Pictures soon, at least of those things I can show. I don’t know if I’m going to show my garment design or not. I might give a great closeup just in case an editor buys it off my back while I’m there! ๐Ÿ™‚ But the sparkle top will get an updated photo soon.

Other than that, things are going well here. We might hear this week regarding John’s current job and if he’ll be staying there past the temporary gig. Fingers crossed and good thoughts welcomed! Okay, back to work for me! Have a great day!

Getting more organized

Last week, Vashti Braha posted an incredible blog post on How to Journal About Your Crochet Ideas. I read it five or six times. I mulled it over. I chatted with her through Twitter about how I was totally stealing that idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

I then spent the weekend thinking it over. If I did this, would I use it? What differentiates it from the other five or six notepads, graph paper pads, and sketchbooks around the house?

Tuesday night I got the notebook she mentioned. I dutifully numbered every page and then set it aside. I was scared to write in it. What if I did it wrong? I scoured the net for information on what to put into it, how to use it, etc. I even sent an email to Vashti. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday morning I got up and grabbed the notebook. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to write my contact info on the first page. Then I set it back down. Thought about how I was going to use it. It was important to me that the info was written in ink, but so much of my design work is done in pencil and scribbled and erased and reworked.

Last night I started swatching for a submission. I was on the third swatch when I realized that I needed a better way to keep track of what I was swatching and what I liked and didn’t like about that swatch. I grabbed the notebook, flipped to page 2 and began writing. I love the gridded aspect of the notebook because it made it much neater. I wrote down what the stitch pattern was, the hook used, and then my thoughts on it. I’m a firm believer that there are no bad stitch patterns and no bad swatches. Everything is a lesson. So while the first two swatches weren’t good for the application I wanted them in, they had merits for other projects. Those notes went in with the info. I even made space on the facing page to put the swatches (still figuring out the best way to do that…leaning currently to tape).

The next page is currently being used to write out my cover letter, make notes on the pattern idea and what things I need to work out.

I’ve decided that it’s my design notebook. So there’s no way to do it wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not going to use it for working out the details (you know, the math) of a design, but for chronicling the ideas as they form. And for keeping up with where things are and where they’re going. Once the scribbly parts are done, I may add that info to the design ideas. Swatches will go in here as appropriate. It’ll also be a great place to flesh out the ideas I have in my head for a book. Not saying I’m ready to do that yet, but I do have some ideas in my head.

Okay, that’s all from me. Work continues on design contest entries. Still not sure yet if I’m only submitting one or two. I’m seriously in love with the idea I’m working on (known as entry #2) and not so much with the first idea. I still may do it, but it’s not as exciting as the current one.

Other than that, not a lot going on. John is working a temporary job for this week and next and there is a possibility it can be extended or made permanent. Waiting on budgets to see if it can happen. Fingers crossed please as it is a great job for him and he’s having a great time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a fabulous holiday weekend! I’ll be taking Monday off to spend the day with my family. Doesn’t mean I won’t be crocheting, just means I won’t be crocheting on work stuff. Unless a fabulous idea pops up. But at least now I have somewhere to write it down.

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