Swatch Fire!

Perhaps you’ve seen the word bandied about on Twitter and wondered, “What the heck are all these designers talking about with ‘swatch fire’?”

Well, it all started innocently one afternoon when a few of my designer friends were lamenting about lying swatches. I made the comment that perhaps if we burned a lying swatch it would serve as an example to the others and we wouldn’t have this issue anymore.

Imagine my surprise when this little phrase picked up and spread, not unlike a fire, all over the Twitterverse. It has its own hashtag now! LOL!

So, I decided last week that I’m going to continue this trend and help ring in the new year as well.

I’m calling all designers to join me on New Year’s Eve (at a time of your choosing) and burn the most recent lying swatch you have. And yes, I have one reserved for this. When you burn it, be sure to focus on the fact that we don’t want to have to do this next year!

Will it work? Dunno. Will it feel good anyway? Heck yeah.

So, join me in the first annual World Wide Swatch Fire event! Feel free to drop me a comment and let me know if you’re joining in with me!

And have a wonderfully happy and safe new year! May there be no further need for swatch fires in your future!

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.

Happy National Crochet Month (belated)!

Sorry this is delayed. National Crochet Month began March 1st. I had all these great ideas in my head of things I was going to do this year for NatCroMo.

And then?

Then medical issues got in the way. A quick overview (because I try not to discuss things other than crochet here) is that I got a kidney stone, was given a painkiller to deal with it, had a horrible reaction to the painkiller, and then due to the lack of sleep and the reaction to the medicine, sent myself into a minor flare with the fibromyalgia. I haven’t crocheted for a week.

I’m almost better now. The stones seem to have passed and now I’m back on the climb to get better. I’m not having the flare issues right now, just dealing with getting energy levels back to where cleaning the kitchen doesn’t wipe me out for three hours.

Anyway, on to other things….

Voting has ended for the 2009 Crochet Awards. Now begins the wait. Winners will be announced live on MaryBeth Temple’s Getting Loopy radio show (which can be found here) on Monday, March 16th at 9pm. It’s a great show to listen to anyway, but that night should be great. From what I hear, they’re trying to get all the winners to call in to accept their awards. There’s also a chat room for the show and that always gets lively. If you can’t listen live, you can download the show later from the website or from iTunes.

I have two large swatches that I need to finish to get out the door along with proposals. That will have to wait a bit longer, unfortunately, because along with an energy drop the fibromyalgia causes a bit of mind “fogginess” that makes it difficult to concentrate on writing. Really, this blog post is taking me a lot longer than normal. So I’m hoping I can get it done in time to get it out the door. If not, I may put them in the queue to self publish.

I’m not sure what’s on the slate for today. I’ve been instructed not to push and not to work on really anything. John is tentatively scheduled to head out to California next week so I need to be able to take care of myself while he’s gone. We had a good start today as I took the dog out for the first time in a few days. So, I’m getting there.

Look, an update!

No pics, sorry. But here’s the updates on what I’m working on:

1. The garment design class is moving along well. My back piece is finished and not only that but it’s dead on for the measurements! ๐Ÿ™‚ SO happy about that. I’m currently debating on whether or not to offer this one through the website and design another sweater for submission. Right now that option is winning in my head.

2. I need to write up a proposal for one swatch to go out the door next week. I also need to finish the swatch and write up the proposal for the other submission I’m working on.

3. Non-crochet related….my minivan got a brand new headliner today. The place we went to did an AWESOME job on it. I’m very pleased. She looks so pretty now!

4. John and I had a really nice chat today on the way to lunch about my career. I had been feeling a bit guilty about taking work time to do the class work and he reminded me it’s like training. It’s taking me to the next step in my career and it’s totally worth taking some time out from swatching to make sure I understand what I’m doing. This is why I’m so lucky to have him in my life and to have his undying support. I couldn’t do it without him.

5. Another non-crochet related thing…John’s Aunt Nelcy sent us an engagement gift. A beautiful pair of toasting champagne flutes. They’re stunning. I now need to go buy thank you cards to have on hand.

6. Today I picked up Josalynne’s copy of the current Crochet World. Now I need to decide on what to write on the page and get it wrapped for her.

7. I have not been crocheting at night. I think my brain and my hands need a break so I’m taking it. It’s not that I’m burned out or anything, I just don’t feel the drive to work on anything at night right now. Even though I do have things to work on.

8. I did not enter into the Strawberry Festival this year. I have a few reasons. a) I would have had to enter as a professional and since only one of my items I wanted to submit was an original design I felt weird about that, b) I just was not in the mood to deal with the traffic of going to drop it off and then to go back and pick it up, and c) I won 8 ribbons last time, I’m good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

9. I’ve spent the last two days looking over the images from New York’s Fashion Week to see what the trends are and to gather inspiration. Some were, well, interesting. Looking it over with John was even more entertaining.

10. On the job front for John, if everyone can send good thoughts for a week from tomorrow (3/4) it’d be greatly appreciated. He has a meeting with someone who could end up giving him a job here. We’re still holding our breath hoping he has at least one more week of bench time. That way we can do family pictures on the 3rd.

Okay, a nice round number. I can close now. Have a great week everyone!

What I’ve been up to

I know, I’ve been horrible again about posting. But see, it’s hard for me to post when there’s nothing I can show you. I feel bad about not being able to talk openly about what I’m working on, so it’s just easier not to post.

At the end of last week I finished a quick and pretty project for the next CLF book. After a collaborative photo shoot with John, I got it all sent off this morning.

Today has been spent swatching to prepare for other submissions. Once that was done it was time to work on my pattern grading classwork. After some arguments with myself and the calculator I think I finally have it figured out. Not fully, but enough that I feel like I’m caught up.

Well, I’m off to work some more on my classwork before bed.

Back into design mode

Tuesday I made myself sit in the studio and crank out the swatch that was requested by the editor of a magazine. So I got that done after a few hours of fiddling with it. I also redid it based off my notes to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I then did the math for the yarn amounts and sent it in an email to the editor. Got an email back pretty quickly saying it was perfect and that the yarn would be ordered later this week. Then she asked if I thought we could alter it a bit to pull a second complimentary design idea out of it as well. I said sure, and so the materials for that will also be on the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today I’m working on redoing another design idea. The one that got kicked back from a couple of different places. No worries, I’ve reevaluated and now I’m working on it for somewhere else. Never give up!

Still waiting on my copy of the CLF book to arrive. I’ve gotten some great feedback from people who already have their copies. I can’t wait to see it!

I’m also waiting on yarn to show up. Yarn for a project that was commissioned by a friend (a Beatrice hat and a scarf to match), yarn from the yarn company for a quick project, and the yarn for the latest design for publication. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s going to start getting busy again soon.

Tonight we’ll be going to our crochet meeting. It’ll be John’s last time for a few months. He turned in his notice yesterday and in two weeks will likely start being gone during the week every week.

Tomorrow I’ll work some more on this newer design concept and likely start the yarn company project (if the yarn comes today). Friday is cleaning day because Mom and Dad are coming over midday. After both John and my little brother get off work, we’ll all go to dinner and then Mom and Dad will head home and the three of us will watch a movie.

Okay, off to get a bit more work done before John gets home and we head out for our meeting. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a good Wednesday!

Busy season started again yesterday

Yesterday morning I worked on a pair of legwarmers. What? Yeah. Well, see, a group of us gals are having an 80s slumber party this weekend and I need a pair of legwarmers to wear. So I worked on those for a bit in the morning.

Then I worked on cleaning up the yarn database for the shop and passed it on to another person to finish. It’s just not something I am going to have time to dedicate to it completely and someone else volunteered so I’m letting her take it over. It’ll get done a lot faster that way.

Early afternoon UPS came by and dropped off some fabulous yarn from the yarn company so I got started swatching with that.

Today I’m waiting on a feedback email and then I’ll be getting to work. I’ve got another quick turnaround on that and hopefully the yarn for the publication project comes in soon.

I also need to send off a business email later today, but that needs to percolate a bit more in my head so it’s worded correctly.

Okay, time to get to work!

A lot done for a half day

First off, thanks to my wonderful webmaster, the site is back up! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay! Thanks, babe!

This morning I followed up on two potential students through email. Not sure when I’ll find time to fit them in, but hopefully our schedules will mesh.

The yarn for the two projects that I need to work on hasn’t arrived yet, so this morning I did the math (ew) for the publication project. I also did a much larger swatch in a similar yarn and I think I’ve got a good game plan for when the yarn does arrive. So I’m feeling pretty good. I am prepped and ready to go with both projects as soon as the yarn gets here. Yay me!

So, because I am all caught up, I’m going to take the rest of the afternoon off. Tomorrow I will be at Dani’s for a girls day. Hopefully yarn comes tonight so I can work while I’m there. If not, well, then I don’t know what I’ll work on. :-/ I’ll likely just be taking a long holiday weekend.

I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Website update and a day off

The parts for the server came in today. About an hour ago, actually. The server is currently in surgery and I keep hearing heavy sighs coming from the office. That may or may not be good. I’m not sure and I’m not going in to ask. I do hear the box being booted up (the fan is really loud on this box and it sits by the door to the living room) and then turned off. Fingers crossed everyone…..we’ve now been down for 5 days. ๐Ÿ™

This morning I did some swatching for the next yarn company project, chatted through email with my contact there, was able to turn around and go a slightly different direction and send that to her, and now I’m just waiting for the yarn to get here so I can get started.

It’s good that it’s been a slow day, my body needed the break. So I took the much needed nap and am just relaxing. Tomorrow I will start working out some of the math for the next submission project (soon to be titled SSP#3) since that yarn should be here soon, too. Busy busy time.

This weekend is turning into another girls’ weekend. At least for part of it. Friday morning I’ll head to Dani’s and meet up with Margarita. I may be working while we hang out and chat, but it’ll be good to get out of the house. On Saturday Margarita is going to come out here and hang out. Sunday may be the day John’s motorcycle goes down the road for the first time. He’s so very very close. It’s exciting.

I’m taking Monday off. I figure that even though I work from home, I should still take the holidays off. Besides, at this point I’m not sure what the weather is going to do so I can’t make any other plans than that. Apparently Gustav is on his way and will likely be a Cat 3 by the time he reaches the gulf. Eh, we’ll see. The porch is still cleared so I’m not too worried about that. Water is still in the freezer and I’m still good on yarn and batteries for my light up hooks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, I need to go figure out something for dinner and see if the “surgeon” needs a soda.

Working on a side project

Whenever I get bogged down in a long term project, I like to knock out a small project to get myself focused again. I know it seems like a strange idea, but it works for me.

Anyway, I’ve had an idea for a headband kicking around in my brain for about 2 months now. I decided yesterday to go ahead and start swatching and see if I could make it work. I sketched and swatched about 3 different ideas and none of them worked. Finally I sketched one more idea and started swatching. It worked! So I kept going. I’ve got the pattern written through to the edging (I need to actually do the edging to make sure my idea for that will work). And I’m about a third of the way through it.

For as difficult as it looks, it’s really a simple pattern. I rank it at intermediate only because it has cables. I love cables. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m hoping to have it done and proofed by the beginning of next week. Then I’ll put it up on Ravelry, the sidebar here, and my pattern page on the website.

I suppose y’all want to see a picture of it? ๐Ÿ™‚ Here it is so far:

Okay, back to work! I need to call in another hour or so to see if I have a class tonight at Joann’s.

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