Branching out

I’ve been doing something related to crochet professionally for over four years now. For the most part, I’ve been designing and teaching exclusively. These have been enjoyable, but I needed to branch out and find a way to bring more revenue streams into my business plan.

If you’ve been a reader for a bit, you know I hit a burn out stage with my designing over the summer. I’m still on break, or as I’ve started calling it for the time being, semi-retired. I have no set date on when I’ll pick up the hooks to design again. My brain and my designer soul needs to have the pressure free space to just breathe and just be. I’ve been crocheting for fun again, and rekindling that love of feeling the yarn move through my fingers and my hook to create beautiful things.

Teaching here in Florida has always been tough. Especially over the summer. Now that the temps are starting to cool off and the snowbirds are returning, I hope my classes may start filling. But I cannot rely on that to provide the bulk of my income for the time being.

So, today (with the arrival of UPS) begins the start of a new venture for me. I’ve done some casual pattern testing in the past, but now I’m starting to do official testing and tech editing. A very dear designer friend has agreed to be my guinea pig and be my first official tech editing client. I’m also doing a testing and tech editing combo for another designer friend.

I’m excited about this. I’m also a little nervous, hoping that I can do it efficiently and correctly. I’ve been told I have a great eye for detail, so I’m hoping it will work in my favor now.

I’ll add information to the Services tab of my site here as soon as I get through these first ones. For the time being, I can only tech edit non-sized items (so no garment grading math) at the moment. I may expand into garments once I am a bit more secure in my skillset. Oh, and in case it needs to be said, I only test and tech edit crochet items.

So if you’re a fellow designer and need a tester or tech editor, I’m starting to branch out into that, so contact me if you need someone!

Now, I need to get to work. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wait, what? How’d it get to be the end of June??

I am sincerely sorry I have not kept up with this blog. The last two months have been a whirlwind of work and I just haven’t had time to sit and compose a post (other than in my head while I’m supposed to be sleeping).

So, let’s catch up a bit, shall we?

I’ve been working on a super huge project that of course I can’t talk about yet. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s been the big thing that’s been taking up all my time. It shipped on Friday and now I just need to write the patterns for it and it will be done. I can’t wait to tell you about it. It’s really cool.

I’ve had easily five or six other good sized projects to go out, both for yarn companies and publication. I’m excited about those, too, and can’t wait to share those either (are you starting to see why I haven’t been able to post much?).

Things haven’t slowed down yet. I leave in a week for Chain Link (also known as the Knit and Crochet Show) in Manchester, NH. I’m very excited about this as I love Chain Link. This year I’m teaching two classes. One on Thursday morning on Amigurumi and one on Friday afternoon on my Broomstick Lace Cloth pattern. Other than that, I just have the events and will spend the rest of my time catching up with my crochet friends from around the country. If you’re going to be there, come find me! I’d love to meet you, too!

My to-do list is still incredibly long. I have to finish two samples for my Amigurumi class (those may end up getting done on Tuesday afternoon at this rate), I need to finish the hat I’m donating to the silent auction, and I’d like to finish a wrap to wear to the dinner Saturday night. That’s just the stuff for Chain Link. I also have three projects due very soon, and today I’m finishing up a submission package. I need to write the patterns for the big project before I leave as well.

I’m still planning on writing the series about being a designer, so if you have questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments. I’m going to try to get them up after I get back.

If I don’t post before then (very likely at this pace), I hope everyone has a great start to July and for my fellow Americans, Happy July 4th! Also, for those traveling to Chain Link, safe travels and I’ll see you there!

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!

Happy May!

I’m just going to stop apologizing for not posting. Because it’ll likely continue for a while as I’m busy with stuff I can’t show you. ๐Ÿ™

Ah, but this is actually a post where I can show you some things!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay!

Yesterday I finished the first of a few tops for wearing to Chainlink in August. This one is a Doris Chan design from her book Everyday Crochet. It’s the pattern Runaround. I made it out of some Rowan Calmer that John brought back for me from Pennsylvania. I love it. I love it so much that after putting it on for photos (at Margarita’s apartment), I left it on the rest of the day. It’s so comfy and cozy and just great. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a closer view:

I also finished my brother’s birthday gift in one day. I’m going to show a picture, only because I don’t think he reads my blog. If he does, oh well, don’t look. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, the pattern is called Earl Lenmeyer the Flask (it’s an X-Files reference and he’ll likely get it). I made it for him because he is a chemist type person (he makes flavors for a flavor company…it’s a complicated job…I call it making OJ taste like OJ). So hopefully he’ll put it on his desk in his lab.

And the side view showing the little markings:

On the personal crochet front, I’m still working on my blue sparkly top for Chainlink. After that I have 2 more clothing items to make. One from a pattern and one that’s my own design. I also have about 3 other things I need to knock out before then. ๐Ÿ™‚ Gonna be busy, but gotta fit it all in.

On the work crochet front, I’ve got a project on the hook right now for publication next year. It’s in a very yummy yarn. I love it. I’m hoping to get it done and out the door by the end of this week. I think I can do it. It’s a very quick project. I also need to crank out two proposal packages and get them out the door as well.

Well, that’s all from me for now. Hopefully I’ll have more to post about next week, but we’ll see. It all depends on how quickly I can finish the blue sparkle top. Speaking of, I should get to that today. It’s been a really lazy Sunday for us.

This week has flown by!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve updated. Sorry about that. Really.

But, I can show you some pictures!

Those would be my latest pair of socks. I learned an important lesson while making these. Namely, one should always write down what one has done to “personalize” a pattern because one never knows how long it will take to get to the second sock. Good thing I can read my own crochet. Two months went by between sock #1 and sock #2.

That’s a doily slouchy hat. It started as a “quick” project for instant gratification. And then I put it down and got busy and it took me another couple of weeks to get back to it. Story of my life. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and here’s my latest WIP:

That’s the beginning of the Cap Sleeve Top from Crochet That Fits. It’s being made in sparkly blue Lion Brand Vanna’s Glamour. It’s the first garment I’m making for conference. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve got a few other in mind, I just have to find time.

Speaking of conference, registration opened today. Have I registered? Nope. Waiting on some income to come in so I can pay for the classes I want to take and all that. Fingers crossed the classes I want don’t sell out! And no, putting on a credit card is not an option right now. We’ve been working hard to pay bills down and I don’t want to add to that by putting the trip on plastic. So, I’ll wait. I should be able to pay for everything I need when my next bit of income comes in.

Anyway, on the slate for this week is finishing up some designs for submission (including my first “real” garment) and a design for self-publication. I also need to write an article and submit it as well. And do one final look at the taxes before sending them off.

Have a great week everyone!

Catching up

Wednesday night was our going away party for Amber. Other than Dani and I, Amber is close to being an original member of our little crochet group. So we got together at Margarita’s house and had a little party for her. Here are a few pics:

Me and Amber

Amber, Jo, Danna, and Dani

Margarita, Carolina and Georg

John and I

So it was a bittersweet party. I’m so proud of Amber, she’s taking a promotion that has her moving from here in Florida to New York. She will be greatly missed. I wish her the best of luck and hope to see her in August when we’re up in Buffalo (she’s going to try to sneak up there for the weekend).

On Thursday I got a present from John in the mail.

Hmmm, what could this be?

Woo hoo! It’s a handcarved hook by Award winning hook maker Jimbo. It’s beautiful! It’s a J hook made in redheart wood. I can’t wait to use it.

John said it’s for winning my Flamie! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love it.

Thursday night I went down to visit the South Shore Knitters and Crocheters. They were a great group of ladies and I felt very welcome. I will likely start attending every week. I’m not going to quit going to my Tampa group, I just wanted to find a group a bit closer to home and meet some new people.

Today I worked on a new design idea (that woke me up the other night and I had to sketch in the bathroom so I wouldn’t wake John up) and got the math right and am almost finished with my sample. I also got the yarn for the next yarn company project today and will start swatching for that over the weekend. Is it bad that I want to make it work with the J hook so I can use my new hook?

I also need to do my taxes this weekend. Blah, more math. Oh well. It needs to get done.

On the non-crochet front, John has received a contingent offer letter from the company he interviewed with (contingent on them getting the contract they’re going for…something everyone is pretty secure in). So now we have to wait and see if the contract goes through. We won’t know for a few more weeks.

Okay, off to make dinner. Have a good weekend everyone!

Oh, and listen Monday night to Getting Loopy, I’ll finally be officially accepting my Flamie on the air! I’ll post a link on Monday for the show!

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!

Whew, what a week!

Sorry about the lack of posting. John’s been home this week and well, after four months of only seeing him on weekends, spending time with him has been way more important than updating this. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also I’ve been busy cleaning and organizing and now can finally show you my studio!

Tuesday we picked up a new laptop for me. It was on clearance and was just such a great deal we couldn’t turn it down. So now I have a shiny new fast laptop. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday we went and picked up the file cabinets and a pretty piece of wood for a new desk for me.

Yesterday was a wash because I had a migraine so I spent most of the day on the sofa.

Today we went and picked up a few desk things (and a week long dry erase board with a tack strip) and I finished the organization.

So, here are the pictures of the new studio. ๐Ÿ™‚ With a few things blocked out ’cause they contain super secret info.

This is the view from my doorway:

Here’s the view of my new desk with the white board and weekly white board above it. I have my plastic organizing drawers to the side and into the corner.

In the corner by the desk you can see my photo/note holder. It holds pictures of my loved ones, things that inspire me, and notes and such.

The next corner I have my crochet chair and side table. Yes, that’s a lava lamp. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a great corner to sit in because throughout most of the day I have great natural light.

Along the other wall (behind me when I’m sitting at the desk) is my fold out table and bookcases. It’s also where my bulletin board is where I tack up swatches to look at them for a while. Also, my TV is in the corner where my two cubbies meet. One cubbie works as a bookcase while the other holds my “inspirational” yarn.

Here is the picture of behind the door. I have an over the door hook to hang my bags on there. I love bags.

And here is where all the rest of my yarn lives. Inside the closet in carefully labeled bins.

Oh, and the picture of my newest bit of decoration…a greyhound rug that likes to put himself right behind my desk chair or right in the middle of the floor.

Okay, I’m off. From the sounds of it, John will be home for at least another week, although he might be at some kind of training next week. We’re not sure yet. Have a great weekend!

Whoops, another week is almost over!

I’ve been busy. Like productive busy, and with that I’ve been neglecting the blog. Sorry.

Now that I have real office hours in the studio, I’ve been getting a lot done. Let’s see, here’s what’s been going on….

Monday: Did a bunch of my business paperwork and found that I’m in the black! Woo! Definitely not by enough that if I had to fend for myself I could survive, but it’s profit and that’s awesome. Not bad for first full year doing this. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also worked on a shawl design that will be published (hopefully) tomorrow.

Tuesday: More work in the studio. Wrote out a rough draft of one of the patterns that has been accepted for publication (I’m waiting on yarn). Finished the shawl design except for the edging. Also hung out with Amber and let her go through the yarn to go out the door.

Wednesday: Getting the “commute” from the living room to the studio down pat. I get up, feed the animals, grab a cup of coffee, check email, then move the laptop into the studio. As Amber said, I just have to watch out for that two cat pileup in the hallway. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also wrote the rough draft for the other pattern that was accepted for publication. And I drew a chart and swatched for an idea for the next CLF book. After lunch I finished up the shawl (including weaving in all ends). Then I decided to cut out of work early. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thursday: Today was a well deserved day off. Although I did get some work related stuff done. I bought supplies for the CLF book project and did the photo shoot for the shawl (gotta love friends who have land and are willing to stand there and let you take pictures).

So what’s left? Well, tomorrow I will edit the shawl pattern, edit the photos and hopefully get the pattern published on Ravelry and on here. Website changes will have to wait until next week when my webmaster is home. I’m also hoping to start on the CLF design and make it work with the new changes I came up with today.

I had all these grand plans for Monday and then realized that it’s a holiday. And John will be home (it’s his “bench time” week). So I’m taking the day off. Then next week I’m going to try to get a lot of swatching and prep work done on a few other designs by lunch time each day. Then I can take the afternoons off to spend time with John.

In other news I got to wear the Ravelympics sweater today! It was COLD here in Florida. Right now, at 10pm, it’s 51 degrees outside. Hey, that’s COLD for here! It’s supposed to get colder tomorrow and Saturday. We’re hoping that John can catch an earlier flight tomorrow to get home before the weather gets bad up north.

Now it’s time to turn the heat off (yuck, hate running it but it was a bit chilly in the house), take the dog out, then go curl up in bed with a good book and get settled.

Good night!

Another thing I can show you

Let’s play another round of “Remember this?”

Remember this?

Well, it turned into this:

Spring Ripple Baby Blanket (Lion Brand’s link) / Ravelry link….go look at it on the Lion Brand site, their pictures are much better than mine. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been waiting to tell you about this yarn. It’s AWESOME! Seriously, I’m going to buy a ton of this when it hits stores near me. It’s a superwash merino wool. 306 yards to a 100g skein. AWESOME. It’s so soft and yummy and the colors are so neat. The info on the site says that it’s a DK weight yarn, but I personally think you might maybe be able to do a pair of socks in it. They might be a bit thick, but that’s my plan. I’m going to swatch with the little bit I have left from the project. I also have a top I want to make with this yarn. Go get some of this if you can. It’s a really nice yarn. ๐Ÿ™‚

What else am I working on? Well, I just finished the sample size for SSP#5. I want to test the other two sizes to make sure my math is right. I also sent off four proposals this morning. So it’s been a busy start to the new year.

Oh, and I finished Kelli’s second sock yesterday and sent it home with Mom. Here’s the picture of the single sock:

Now all that’s left to do is John’s vest. He’s resigned himself to getting it as a birthday present in February. I’m hoping I can get it done before then. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll see.

Well, time to get back to work. I’d like to get my to-do list done today before mid afternoon so I can do a bit of housework before John comes home tonight.

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