A place to help this dude keep track of his thoughts and ideas on his way down the fiber arts superhighway...

Friday, June 30, 2006

Designer Friends

Three of my good friends who self-publish crochet patterns and I formed a group over at Lulu! I'm very excited! The members include Chris Simon, Amy O'Neill Houck and Kim Guzman (and The Crochet Dude...but I suppose that's obvious). Most crochetiers are familiar with some of their patterns I'm sure! Anywho, now we have a page where all our self-published pattern booklets are in one place for your viewing and consumer pleasure. Click here:

Self-published Crochet Designers

Now we need to come up with a cool button, eh?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Verification Complete

It's official, the twinset does indeed fit a human being. It has been on Miss Thang for so long now, who, as we have established, has no arms or shoulders, and I was starting to worry that it would only fit alien creatures whose arms are situated differently, which totally reminds me of that jr. high joke where the punchline is "so I can go up to girls and tap them on the shoulder and say don't I know you?" but that's kind of off the point.

Anywho, yesterday my lovely neighbor (who does indeed have two shoulders located in the correct place for a human) tried the twinset on and it really looked great. It made me so happy! I don't often get to see real live 3-D people wearing my designs, so it was a real treat!

Several people asked where? when? how? and I'm happy to say that this twinset is for my line of patterns and will be available via Lulu.com this summer and via your LYS (hopefully) later winter early spring. Hey, if you want to help with buzz you could innocently ask your LYS "do you carry any patterns by Drew Emborsky, you know The Crochet Dude??" Plant those seeds, there's no harm in that, right? buzz buzzzzz

Call Your Local Cable Provider

Also yesterday I emailed the final steps of one of the projects that I will be demonstrating on the DIY Network in August. Did I tell you about that yet? It's for a new show called Uncommon Threads (which is debuting any day now) and they are starting to film the second season in August. (Which for you mathies out there it should be easy to figure out that my episodes won't be on t.v. until next year.) I can't tell you what I am demonstrating but let's just say that designing purses recently has been good for The Crochet Dude. I'm just saying.


Today I have to (and I mean it) hunker down and finish a project that is due for Lark Books (I know I haven't told you about that) and it must be shipped tomorrow at the latest. Half the project has been finished and shipped and I believe they are using it to advertise said book in the trade catalogs (such an honor!) but the other half has to be finished today and shipped tomorrow. Do you think Miss Chandler would help me out?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Miss Thang

I've taken to calling my dress form "Miss Thang", she's got quite the attitude. In fact these last few days when I go to take a photo of her in one of my creations she puts her hand on her hip and gives me "the look". What did she think she was going to do, be stuck in a closet somewhere? I don't think so! Her destiny was to be all over the Internet. Anywho, I've finished crocheting the twinset and now I have to wrangle my lovely neighbor into trying it on for me to see if it needs any tweakage. Miss Thang might have attitude, but she doesn't have arms.

Look At My Banana!

I was surprised to discover that my bananas are already setting fruit! This is the earliest ever since I bought this place three summers ago. Must be the banana food that I gave them back in February. That and the foot of rain we got in Houston two weekends ago.

*nutritious and delicious*

Monday, June 26, 2006

Almost here!

The twinset is almost ready. I have the bottom of the cardigan to finish, then trim it all out and weave in all the ends! Woo hoo!!

I worked on the cardigan all weekend (along with mowing the yard and trimming the jungle that is the backyard, which is great because before Houston I lived in Dallas where I pretty much had to water anything 24/7 and pray to the green thumb gods that the plants may stay alive and then it was only if they were in the shade most of the day because in Dallas? It. Is. Hot. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying.)

Hefty Hefty Hefty

I also got up the nerve over the weekend to read the email from the magazine editor that returned two of my finished designs once she had seen them in person. (And thank you so much to everyone that encouraged me last week; y'all really helped me a lot!!) As I suspected it was a nice email full of good suggestions and a lot of encouragement to continue designing (do you think she somehow knew that the future of The Crochet Dude(tm) was in her hands and that her email would have influenced the entire industry as we may someday know it?)

Anywho, there was an underlying theme that I saw in her comments (and that I've seen with one other editor I've worked with) in that there wasn't complete, clear, concise communication between us. How critical that is!! For example although my swatch and sketch and design proposal showed that all parts of said design were to be felted, she never thought certain parts were going to be and therefore the finished item didn't "fit" the way that she expected.

The problem of course was that I didn't clearly state "all parts felted" or "felted parts will be: a, b, c, & d". The swatch had a sample of parts a, b, c, & d, and they were all felted, but I didn't actually say it. So from now on when/if an editor wants to buy a design from me I am going to be very clear about each and every minute detail of what they are expecting. I think I'm even going to send them digital photos as I make progress to verify that what I am doing is what they are expecting. I just don't want to ever lose 120 hours of my life to a simple "I didn't think that part d was going to be felted" again, ya know?

*my bodyguards in training*

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Saturday Sky

Sandy (click button above) came up with this great concept to help brighten blogland on the weekends. It's called Saturday Sky. When I went outside to take a snapshot of the sky I realized that the majority of the sky around my house looks like the photo below! Next week I think I'll drive out of the 'hood to get the photo.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Julia - a self-lining purse to crochet

Now available - the pattern to make this cabled purse:

A chunky flat-bottomed purse with cables all around that closes with a drawstring and has heart-shaped handles. The purse is self-lining so you don't have to sew one in, it's part of the pattern! Once you get all your stuff in the purse and it bulges just a bit then you can see the pink lining in between the giant cables. *cat not included*

Julia - a self-lining purse to crochet

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I've Got Mail

When I got off the plane the other day in Albuquerque I rented a car and drove directly to Village Wools, a fantastic yarn shop on the famous San Mateo Drive. If you are ever in the Albuquerque area I highly recommend stopping in, they pretty much have everything, including wonderful people to help you. I dropped off my new little calling card, (remember? it's a Chic on the Halfshell worked up in a yarn that they carry (in this case it was Artyarns Ultramerino 8 - wowza), the pattern printed up to give away, and a set of my business cards.) Pictured here from left to right are Cathlena, Franzi and Sandy. A special thanks to my friend Scout who hooked me up with this great yarn shop! (and who also dyes the most incredible yarns. Don't miss her line of "Hurricane Sock Yarn" with such colors as "Blue Roof", "Damn Debris", "Run Like Hell" and "Storm Surge"!)

Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy

So the day that SCCM1 emailed me saying that they couldn't use my finished designs after all (remember that? I call it Red Wine Wednesday now, although I can't remember if it really happened on a wednesday or not, but there was definitely red wine involved and if it were Tuesday it just wouldn't sound the same. Unless I called it Tepache Tuesday, which sounds more like a Fiesta ParTAY instead of a Pity Party, which is really what it turned out to be...anywho...) I emailed them that day (before the red wine) and asked for feedback because hey, there is obviously a lesson to be learned there! The lovely editor of the magazine (and I mean that, she's really a great person, she's famous, you've heard of her) emailed back a couple of weeks ago but I haven't had the nerve to open it. Isn't that silly? I went to art school so I've been critiqued a lot (it's what happens on a daily basis at art school) and I would like to think that I have a thick skin when it comes to hearing how I can improve. But for some reason that email sits in my inbox. What if it's good news? What if it's the editor saying "we've made a huge mistake, please forgive us, we want to dedicate an entire issue to The Crochet Dude!" Then again, it could be a polite "kid, get out of the business, what were you thinking?" Most likely it's somewhere in between... Meanwhile, I have one new message in my inbox.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Come Sail Away

Here is an extreme closeup of one of the items that I designed for the DIY episode that I'm going to be on. Actually one of the episodes that I'm going to be on. There will be three. Did I tell you we're filming in August? Anywho, pretend that you can't figure out what it is and then I can play dumb in case the producers say I showed you too much. Those are glass beads and the yarn is Patons Grace mercerized cotton. But you didn't hear that from me.

Hippies and Artists and Aliens (oh my)

What does one do when one is in New Mexico? One visits UFO crash sites of course! Here I am near the four corners region of New Mexico waiting for the mother ship to take me home speculating the direction from whence the alien aircraft entered our atmosphere and made it's New Mexican debut. I got a pretty goofy sunburn on my legs in that outfit too. No photos will be released though.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Got Rain?

Miss me? I was out of town for a few days and apparently while away it rained in Houston. It rained a LOT! Fortunately I took my time in searching for this house which included a careful study of the local flood plains. My place is situated at the very driest part of Houston (according to my research) with the least likelihood of flooding. This way I can just enjoy that midnight deluge and not worry that I will wake up with my house in a different location.

This is a self portrait in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Ore House having lunch over the weekend. I would love to live in Santa Fe someday! Lots of hippies, and artists, and history there.

The Crochet Dude THS

This morning while catching up on reading emails I discovered that all the materials for the DIY Network show that I'm taping in August (I told you about that, didn't I?) are due today. Today, as in today. So that means I have to hunker down and get busy! Luckily the producers are in L.A. so I have a two hour advantage! Woo hoo! Gotta love the earth's rotation. It also means that I get to go yarn shopping, a perk of the job that never gets old!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Feeling Tencel?

Hooray! The yarn to complete the twin set arrived! (Thank you to the lovely ladies of Yarntopia!) Now to hunker down and git-r-done! "Premiere" is made in Peru for Classic Elite Yarns. It is 50% pima cotton and 50% tencel, an environmentally friendly fiber that is just amazing. The colors are so rich and the drape and sheen are like nothing you've ever seen in cotton. It transforms cotton into nearly alpaca in softness and nearly silk in sheen/drape. Amazing. Click here to read more about tencel and other earth friendly fibers:

Monday, June 12, 2006

The iPod Has Spoken

Some of you may have noticed that I don't usually do the meme thing. Not that I don't enjoying reading others', because I really do. Then I saw this one on my friend Stephanie's blog and figured I'd at least try it, which didn't mean I had to post it, right? Well, it's spooky how much the iPod knows and fearing the wrath of the shuffle-gods I am sharing it with the rest of the world. Try not to read too much into the answers.

The way it works:
1. Put your iPod on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question.

How am I feeling today?
Stray Cat Strut, Stray Cats (this is interesting since I’m feeling blecky today. I guess stray cats don’t always feel that great, eh?)

Will I get far in life?
Draggin’ The Line, R.E.M. (I don’t even know what that means. I’m thinking it means far.)

How do my friends see me?
Estoy Agotado,
Mana’ (translated: “I’m Exhausted” – is that how you see me?)

When will I get married?
Dame Tu Amor,
Luis Miguel (translated: “Give Me Your Love” – and you know who you are…)

What is my best friend's theme song?
He Left A Lot To Be Desired,
Ricochet (This reaaaally made me laugh!)

What is the story of my life?
I Can’t Put Out This Fire,
Brooks N Dunn (And would I even want to?)

What was high school like?
Aint Goin’ Down till the Sun Comes Up,
Garth Brooks (I had some fun. We’ll leave it at that.)

How am I going to get ahead in life?
Right Here Right Now,
Fatboy Slim (This is what I’m actually trying to do, stay in the moment. It’s always a bit of a challenge for me, but I’m trying!)

What is the best thing about me?
Some Days You Gotta Dance,
Dixie Chicks (I’m not afraid to put everything aside and just enjoy the day, afternoon, evening, etc.)

How is today going to be?
Wild Boys,
Duran Duran (I wish I were strapped to a windmill being dunked simultaneously while singing. I’m just saying.)

What is in store for this weekend?
Let’s Go Crazy,
Prince (Woo hoo, something to look forward to!)

What song describes my parents?
Jealous Lover,
ABC (I can’t verify this since I’m an orphan now, but it wouldn’t surprise me.)

What song describes your grandparents?
Big Business,
David Byrne (My grandpa ran the local dump and was also a freelance butcher, going from farm to farm killing animals for people. Such a legacy.)

How is my life going?
If That’s The Way You Want It,
Brooks N Dunn (The operative word is “if”. LOL)

What song will they play at my funeral?
Sting (Perhaps. Perhaps it will be “Relax”… we’ll see.)

How does the world see me?
David Byrne

Will I have a happy life?
Twist in my Sobriety,
Liza Minelli with Pet Shop Boys (I can see that.)

What do my friends really think of me?
It’s Not Right But It’s Okay, Whitney Houston (ROFL)

Do people secretly lust after me?
Burning Bridges,
Garth Brooks (I don’t know what this means…)

How can I make myself happy?
Drive Time,
M People (Gotta go!)

What should I do with my life?
We Got The Beat,
The Go-Go’s (I will do my best.)

Will I ever have children?
Making Flippy Floppy, Talking Heads (If anyone know what this means could you please explain it to me?)

What is some good advice for me?

Someone To Watch Over Me,
Linda Ronstadt (I certainly hope so.)

What is my signature dancing song?
The Wanderer, U2 (Aint that the truth!!??)

What do I think my current theme song is?
Get Together,
Madonna (If you know this song, you know how funny an answer this is!)

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
One Too Many Mornings,
The Chemical Brothers (How come y’all never told me this?)

What type of men/women do you like?
This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody),
Talking Heads

What kind of kisser are you?
Don’t Stop Believing,
Olivia Newton-John

What's your style?
Turns The Love to Anger,

What kind of lover are you?
Are You Still Up?,
Janet Jackson (While this is a bit embarrassing, I can’t argue with the all-knowing iPod, right?)

What would be playing on a first date?
Saturday Night,
Bay City Rollers (I forgot I even had this cd.)

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
21st Century Schizoid Man,
King Crimson (Sigh.)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tepache 101

By request, here is my version of tepache, that wonderful summer beverage that hits the spot. It may or may not hit your spot, but it does indeed hit my spot, and I'm not saying that it does have alcohol when it's finished because it may or may not, and I cannot be responsible for any deeds actions or otherwise table dancing or bad crocheting that may result from imbibing said refreshment... Anywho, proceed at your own risk....


One large fresh ripe pineapple
4 c brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks

Step One:

Cut the top and the skin off the pineapple. Discard the top. Core the pineapple, slice the good part and grill until it just starts to caramelize and serve on a burger with avocado, onions and tomato...wow, now that's a good burger. Where was I? Oh yeah, after eating the burger and pondering its goodness, take the pineapple skins and the core and put them all in a large pot with 4 qts of water. Cover pot and sit on your counter. (Sit the pot on the counter, you yourself do NOT have sit on the counter. I suppose you could sit on the counter if you want to, I leave that as optional.)

Wait one full week (no peeking).

Step Two:

Add brown sugar and cinnamon sticks (I like to break the cinammon into pieces). Mix well and cover pot.

Wait another full week (no peeking again). Your refreshing beverage should look something like this at the end of the week:

Step Three:

Scoop out all the big chunks of pineapple and discard. Strain the liquid into a pitcher:

At this point I check to see if it's sweet enough for me and I'll add a little more brown sugar if necessary. I recommend serving this chilled, it brings out the different flavors when it's cold.

Step Four:

Get into a comfortable position and enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Flying Afghan pattern now available

I have received many emails over the past few months from people wanting the patterns for the Flying Afghan, but didn't get the pattern-a-day calendar that they were originally published in. So, for your pleasure, I have put together all the patterns for The Crochet Dude's Flying Afghan and made it available as a download or a 40 page full color booklet:

What's He Drankin' Now?

The answer to yesterday's burning question "What's he drankin' now?" is "tepache" (pronounced tuhPAHchay), sometimes referred to as pineapple beer or pineapple cider. I learned to make tepache when I lived in Guadalajara back in the 90's and I made a LOT of it down there. It may or may not have an alcohol content which means I may or may not have drunk it. And since no one guess correctly I guess I'll just have to give myself a little treat...er, you know what I mean...anywho.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cheaters Need Not Apply

As I wait for the Classic Elite yarn to arrive to finish the twin set, I have been working on a project of which I cannot speak. Who knew there was such a dark and mysterious side to the crochet industry? Anywho, I was outside and took this photo of my neighbors' yards from my yard. I love this little neighborhood! It's like living in a small town but I'm only a few minutes from the city center!

Self Portrait Tuesday

Okay okay, so I don't really participate in that incredible blogventure called "Self Portrait Tuesday" but sometimes one can't resist the pressure. Soooo, here I am! Oh, and if are the first person to guess what I have in the glass that I may or may not have been drinking when I took this self-portrait, I may or may not send you a fantastic prize! Woo hoo!

(note: Imaginary Maggie and Great Basin Home Inspectors not eligible, nor anyone who asks them what is in the glass because, well, that's just cheating and cheaters never prosper...anywho...).

Monday, June 05, 2006

Go Karen, it's yer berfday!

Well, not today, but it was recently so I took my friend Karen (remember her from last year's Yarn Safari? She's the one that tried to starve me to death by distracting me with a string of yarn shops and no food. You'll have to look in the archives...anywho) out to Katy to see Yarntopia, then we had a nice birthday lunch afterwards. A couple of months ago I attended Yarntopia's grand opening and happen to win a doorprize of a gift card. So, as part of Karen's birthday celebration she got to pick out whatever she wanted from the store (more on that below).
*clickable pics*
Here I am officially receiving my giftcard from Amy, one of the lovely owners of Yarntopia.

Apparently this has become my new calling card. I have done this for two yarn shops recently and it has been received well. I made up a model of the Chic on the Halfshell purse in a yarn that they carry, and I also reformatted the pattern on to one sheet like a handout to put with the purse. What's great is that this purse only uses one skein of most yarns so it's a great project to combine crochet and higher end yarns.

Karen chose some wonderful recycled silk Sari fiber. Isn't it wonderful? The colors are so rich and the texture is amazing.

Here is the entire haul. I didn't realize until just now that a few of the skeins of yarn are buried and can't be seen well. One of my favorites and I can't wait to start using is the Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. It's incredible!

I also ordered some more of the yarn that I need for the twin set. Can you believe I ran out with just a little bit left to do? Argh, how frustrating! Anywho, Amy ordered some while I was in her store and she is going to ship it to me this week (or next).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Julia's Debut

Here are the first photos of my latest purse design, this one called "Julia". As you can see, it is Miss Chandler approved! This is the sister purse to the Jennifer that I showed a couple of weeks ago. I hope you like it! It's a chunky flat-bottomed purse with cables all around, and closes with a drawstring and has heart-shaped handles.

The purse is self-lining by which I mean that you don't have to sew in a lining, it's part of the pattern! Once you get all your stuff in the purse and it bulges just a bit then you can see the pink lining in between the giant cables. I'm hoping to have both Jennifer and Julia available sometime next week! Woo hoo!

This detail photo of the cables shows how I used two strands of different fibers in order to create a mottled effect.

Cat not included