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

Friday, April 28, 2006

Several Reasons to Buzz

This morning I hauled out all the remaining projects that are due. Most of them need to be shipped Tuesday, and that includes one that I have yet to receive the yarn for. It's Friday and if it doesn't arrive today, it may or may not arrive Monday. There ain't enough coffee to get me through this weekend, y'all, I'll be needing a fibermiracle (or something stronger than coffee). I do feel good about the stage that all the other projects are at. I don't see any compelling reason they won't be finished on time. Luckily it's supposed to be rainy all weekend so I won't be distracted by yard/home improvement projects.

Say Hello To My Little Friends

This morning I found this little dude (again, could be a dudette, I'm not sure how to tell with insects) drinking the hummingbird water. If you look closely you can see there are a few more little friends getting hopped on sugarwater. Don't they know that sugar is the enemy? Or is potato the enemy? I can never keep it straight. I was so close to buying "The Peanut Butter Diet" book the other day. Peanut butter at every meal and still lose weight? Now that's a miracle!

And I found another little treasure this morning. Yep, it's the first watermelon on the vine. In fact I found six of them, but the others were camera shy. Anywho, although disappointingly for Crazy Aunt Purl they won't be square, I can't wait to see them develop! This is the first time I've actually had watermelons grow for me!

Don't Hide Yer Hogwarts

I found a crochetier that has created a fantastic reproduction of Hogwart's Castle from the Harry Potter series. It's an amazing example of when talent and patience come together to create something incredible. Check it out here:

Have a great weekend everyone! My big podcast debut is on Monday!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Buh-bye Baby!

I shipped out all the baby items (whoops, did I tell you they were all baby items?) to SCYC IV this morning. Whew!! Another deadline met. I can't express what a relief it is to send stuff OUT! I have several more deadlines to meet over the next 6 days and I'd better get crackin'. I'm on the verge of feeling like I may not make one or two of them, but I doubt I'll let that happen. I'm not at the point in my career where deadlines are cheefully held up for me....yet! (I've heard rumors that there does come a time when press dates are sometimes held up if the right designer asks for a few extra days.)

Speaking of Upgrades

I just received my acceptance letter from the Crochet Guild of America, letting me know that my membership has been upgraded to Associate Professional! Woo hoo HOO! A full Professional membership requires two years of work experience in the industry and well, I don't have that yet. So they have a program where you start as an Associate Professional and it allows you to participate with the full professionals and learn from them. Heck, they even assign you a one-on-one mentor if you want!! Do you think Melissa Leapmanis available?

If you haven't joined the CGOA click here and check it out!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Science or Madness?

Today is the last day that I can work on projects for SCYC IV. Tomorrow they have to be overnighted to the northeast somewhere to be put on display at a fiber market. Cross yer hooks that they like what I send them; this could lead to a steady work flow with this new company! Today and tonight you'll find me weaving in ends and playing with my Scunci... (er, so to speak).


Museum Souvenir

The other day I mentioned that I went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see The Body Works exhibit. After any exhibit you exit into the gift shop, right? So there I am looking at tshirts with my new skinless friends on them and this is what I ended up coming home with:

It's an actual scientific beaker with the anatomical symbol for "caffeine", isn't that cool? I feel so smart as I drink out of it. Click on the pic if you want to get a better look-see.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I added another free pattern to my free patterns page. This is one is a joining method for 12" afghan squares. I have used it on many comfortghans and have received many emails requesting the pattern. Check it out by clicking on the link in the sidebar that says "Free Patterns" or by clicking the cover pic here.

It's Growing!

The garden is really taking off. This little montage (love you Photoshop) shows the progress of some potted plants that I have in the courtyard outside the family room. The tomatoes and watermelons were grown from seed. What a miracle that is! And they are both from heirloom seeds so the fruit should tastier than a typical genetically modified fruit.

*clickable image*
About four weeks of growth

And just this afternoon I found this little dude (perhaps a dudette, how can you tell?) going straight for the watermelon vine. Luckily I was able to intercept and take him to the back 40.

Monday, April 24, 2006

One down, eleventy seven to go!

I just shipped off the three projects that SCYC I had hired me to do over the weekend. They were felted intarsia, so you can imagine the amount of math that included! I do my charts with Excel and it makes it a bit easier. One of the reasons I like working with Excel is that I can make mathematical calculations off to the side of the chart and leave them there for reference. Then once the chart is finished I can copy/paste it into Photoshop and save it as a .jpg or whatever is appropriate.

Scunci, how do I love thee?

After a veggie snack I finished blocking a project for SCCM I. Let's just say I discovered the joy that is called Scunci. And a basketball. That's all I'm saying.

Skinless but not Boneless

Saturday morning I went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see the exhibit called Gunther von Hagens' Body Worlds. It's possible you've seen it too, or at least heard about it. They have several versions of the exhibit throughout the country. Anywho, I won't go into too much detail (it's a family blog, dontcha know). It's where they took some formerly alive people and plasticized them so that you can see what the bod looks like on the inside, you know, when one is on a skinless horse or playing cards with one's skinless formerly alive friends. Ask my siblings, I pass out at the thought of blood, but this was fascinating!! Click here if you're curious (remember: it's real bodies so be ready):

Sign Here... and Here...

I received the contract from SCCM II for the item that they will be using in their fall issue. How amazing to see it all in writing!! Right there in black and beige!! (they have nice letterhead). I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel called April, especially since I've begun to send out completed items. Getting this contract in the mail represents getting even closer!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Barbaric Yet Refreshing

This morning a storm came through Houston right around 7am-ish. I had on the tele watching my favorite channel (The Weather Channel) - there, I said it, my favorite t.v. channel is The Weather Channel and I'm not ashamed!! They have Local On The 8's, and Storm Stories... Anywho the little red ticker on the bottom of the screen said "widespread power outages possible in Houston". I got out my super cool voodoo candle courtesy of Crazy Aunt Purl and the moment I lit the candle (after placing it in the middle of the stove where it is safe, and fire resistant) lightening struck right outside the window and the house went dark.

Losing one's power is kinda fun. It can be romantic, adventurous, a change of pace, etc. I like these type of unscheduled events in my life because I can pretend that I'm Indiana Jones (whoops, did I say that out loud?). Here are several reasons losing one's power is NOT fun:

  1. Although your entire street is out of power it is only YOUR side of the street. So looking out the windows you can see people getting ready to face the day using lights. And air conditioning. And their socks match.
  2. The humidity in your little microworld is 103% and it's only going higher.
  3. The power stays off for four hours because apparently out of 70,000 customers without power, your little halfside of the street isn't a high priority in getting it turned back on.
  4. The forecast high (last you knew before they took away your weather channel with one little bolt of lightening) is in the 90's.
  5. You have to crochet 19 items by lunchtime and they are all made out of wool.

Fortunately the power did come back on at about 10 to noon which gave me plenty of time to eat something and comb my hair and answer the phone. The phone? Is he just babbling again. Um, hello, didn't I tell you I was being interviewed for a podcast today? And because I'm naturally shy and do not like to talk about myself (it could happen) the interview only lasted two hours. The reporter promised she would edit out all the naughty boring bits. I'll let you know when it is published.

Losing the power for a few hours was indeed barbaric. I couldn't check my email, or open the fridge, or check my socks to see if they matched (at least until the sun came up). But it was also refreshing. I opened some windows when the rain stopped and sat in the family room to work. The house was completely silent; no humming of the fridge, no iPod of the music, no t.v. of the daytime shows. Just quiet. I could actually hear the birds singing, and the squirrels as they scurried across the fence, etc. It was nice, refreshing even. Even without my Local on the 8's.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Twenty Fo Mo Hours Please

Last night right after the Daily Show I was drifting off to sleep calculating how much I needed to finish crocheting per day in order to meet the eight deadlines that are coming up FAST. Then I ended up dreaming about being on a cruise ship that was having trouble negotiating some big waves. I'm sure it was the ad for Poseidon that I had seen earlier in the evening that prompted the dream. I've taken a couple of cruises in the past and I plan to take more in the future so I will NOT be going to see THAT movie. Ain't no way. Movie images get totally burned into my memory and they do. not. go. away. On the last cruise I was on Cptn. Shlockenburgenbocken quipped "I'm not really sure why the ship doesn't tip over"...I would have given him what for if I hadn't been hanging out with Charo on the Lido Deck...

Anwho, what? Oh yeah, here is another extreme closeup of one of the projects that I'm working on. Again with the wool (do you see a theme here?) and there are actually other colors that will be mixed in but I haven't gotten to them yet(!).

Another box of yarn arrived today. These projects are due by next Wednesday so that means they have to be crocheted and have the patterns written and everything shipped by Monday. Nice colors dontcha think? Again with the wool, trend watchers.

Cuisine Setting

I discovered the cuisine setting on my camera. I'm not sure what the camera does when it's about to photograph food, but it seems to work! Breakfast anyone?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mulberry Wool

Here is some more texture for you. This is an item that will be included in a crochet magazine this fall. The prototype that I did came out nice and obviously caught the editor's attention, but the way it is working up with the provided yarn is fantastic. I couldn't be happier with the look of the final piece!

Latest Blossomings

The elephant ears that magically appeared in my compost pile over the winter, and that I then transplanted in January (and let me tell you, they were NOT happy!) have decided that it's not so bad in their new spots. The are both blossoming. I hadn't seen elephant ears blossom before and sure hope it doesn't mean they are going to kick the bucket on me now!

Yarn: Diva Style

Cheryl of Diva Knitting fame has bought ad space right here on this lil ole blog! Woo hoo!! Thanks so much Miss Thang! Anywho, see that link just to your right that says "Diva Knitting" I double dawg dare ya to click on it. Go head, her yarns are amazing!! (And no, I didn't get any free yarn to make me say that!)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New Free Pattern, etc.

I have just finished uploading a new pattern to my free patterns page. This purse works great for taking jewelry with you on vacation! On the inside are six little pockets so that you can separate your jewelry that doesn't play well together. This way you can prevent scratches, tangles, calling the jewelry police, etc. At the very least you'll avoid being on Dr. Phil and having your jewelry threaten you with a fireplace poker and then trying to destroy your house when you are at the grocery store...

Anywho...click here:

The Crochet Dude's Travel Jewelry Purse to Crochet

Monday, April 17, 2006

Buy Stock in Senseo

I think I've pretty much done everything that I can do with the yarn that I received from SCYC IV. They needed as many items finished for a textile market that is coming up and, well, I ran out of yarn so that's how many they are getting. I'm hoping they'll be happy though and that they will hire me again in the future!


This is how the Lion Brand Bolero looks when it is felted. It really is amazing how the colors look together. It almost has a granite look to it. This item will be published in January I believe.


Super Cool Yarn Co. I called this morning and asked me to do three more designs, oh, and they need them ASAP! I said "yes" for various reasons that range from desire to need to shame and actually come around full circle to desire again. There was one little voice in my head that was saying "someday you may have to turn down work because dude, you can only do so much", but it's not time yet. What a day that will be though!!


I've been working all morning on the item that will be in the Fall 2006 issue of Super Cool Crochet Magazine II. It's working out great and even better than the swatch that I had originally sent them (they are going with a much more expensive yarn and, well, you get what you pay for, eh?). I'll post a photo of the texture soon.

Gratuitous Cat Photo

The first thing I see each morning when I wake up.

Friday, April 14, 2006


It's still not clear, and I think it's on a publisher to publisher basis, but I don't think I can show you the actual items that I'm currently designing. However, I can show you the texture, right? Here is are two of the items using the DK weight yarn from SCYC IV. It's so nice and I'm actually enjoying using a size D hook. Before you know it I'll be working with thread....

This other one is again worked up with the DK weight but in the round. I like working in the round, but it's tricky sometimes. It's especially tricky when you are writing a pattern in multiple sizes. I'm hoping this one turns out the way it's supposed to!!

No, it wasn't a candygram or a land shark for that matter, but the Fed/Ex person with another box of yarn. This time from Lion Brand. Bolero is 100% wool made in Italy and felts wonderfully! It's a thick-and-thin roving style yarn that works up quickly and the colors are amazing.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is That a Sheep In Your Package?

Another box of yarn arrived for some felted projects that will be in Super Cool Crochet Magazine I. I looooove Brown Sheep Yarn, and this Lambs Pride is terrific to work with. It's 85% wool and 15% Mohair and felts wonderfully! One thing though, as I've started to work up the design I realize that I didn't ask for enough yardage. Seriously, I'm about a third short and I'm still contemplating what to do. The people at Brown Sheep are terrific, very cheerful and eager to supply the yarn, but it's also my first time working with them and I don't want to call them back and say
Funny story, you know all that yarn you sent, um... *nervous snicker* I need a third more and btw, could you match the dye lot that to the yarn that you already shipped?
No, I'll make this work somehow with what I have. Oye.

I also received the email from Fed/Ex last night saying that Super Cool Crochet Magazine II has shipped the yarn for the project they want me to do. The tracking info says that it weighs two pounds. Doesn't that sound pretty heavy for some yarn? I'm hoping it means that they decided to have me do two of the projects that I submitted instead of just one.

I have been submitting an average of five design ideas per issue to several different magazines for over a year now, and I literally have a file box to contain all the rejection notices. This is the first time that anyone has shown interest in my stuff. Soooo, I never ever ever expected for SCCM I to buy four of the five design proposals that I sent them!! And at the same time for SCCM II to buy one (possibly two) of my designs. And at the same to have SCYC IV send me a huge box of yarn and say "get as many designs to us by April 28th", etc. I'm not complaining, I'm just a bit skeered!!! I wish I didn't sleep. Seriously. And they say that Senseo only takes thirty seconds but that doesn't include the filling up of the water tank, the putting in the coffee pods, and the minute it takes to heat the water before you can even push the "I NEED COFFEE NOW" button. That's an eternity in caffeine addiction time.

I'm just saying.

The Garden State

The first fruits of the season have ripened! These strawberries were plants that I put in last year and they did so-so, but this year they are producing like crazy. I believe strawberries do best their second year so you have to plant some each year to get continuous crops. But don't quote me on that.

And because I like to avoid chemical pesticides, I released 1500 of my newest garden friends. Hopefully they are eating and procreating like crazy. I also have a cocoon of praying mantis out there but they haven't hatched yet. I bet you can't wait for that photo, eh?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Saturday afternoon I found myself in Yarntopia....literally. Sheryl and Amy have at last opened their incredible yarn shop in Katy (just outside of Houston). I have been anticipating this new yarn store for months now, and I was not disappointed at all. To paraphrase a recent commenter: "they had me at Fleece Artist"...

*all photos are clickable*

Your lovely hostesses at Yarntopia

The yarns are arranged by weight! What a fantastic way to shop!!

Not only do they carry Fleece Artist, FA actually created a wonderful set of yarns using Yarntopia's colorway. Appropriately named "Yarntopia"!

Do you think Sheryl and Amy would come over and help me organize my studio? Or should I just move in here?

Self portrait in front of the kettle-dyed goodness.

Such a good name for a great yarn shop!!

Here are a few of the yarns they carry: Rowan, Louisa Harding, Fleece Artist , Handmaiden by Fleece Artist, Malabrigo, Mango Moon, Tilli Tomas , Debbie Bliss, Araucania, Noro, Nashua, Classic Elite, Berroco, Cascade, GGH/Muench, Plymouth, Crystal Palace, and Mission Falls.

If you want to see more visit the website or Sheryl and Amy's blog. Better yet, boogy on over if you are in the area for some tactile therapy!

Monday, April 10, 2006


There is a new Super Cool Yarn Co. and I'm calling it IV. Not IV, as in, I'm so busy I need an IV of either Starbuck's or Tim Horton's in my arm. No it's IV as in one after III. I just received this box of wonderful yarns that aren't even on the market yet. This yarn company I predict, based on the quality of the different yarns they sent me, is going to be hot. Now the task at hand is to transform this fiber goodness into five baby garments and a baby blanket in the next week or so. I love pressure, don't you?

Spring Springeth Forth

I whipped up one of my daisy purses at lunch time today for my friend Imaginary Maggie. She is going to give this to her granddaughter for Easter. I just shipped it this afternoon so I hope it makes in on time! (I know it will, the post office is uber-reliable.)

And before you say "dude, that looks a bit lopsided" rest assured that it's just not the greatest pic. Maggie I'm sure will testify to it's symmetry when it arrives.

If you want to whip one up at lunch yourself here is the pattern:

Super Cool Crochet Magazine(s)

I've heard from two different crochet magazines recently that some of my design submissions have been accepted! That is a total of five designs accepted in the last six weeks! Woo hoo hooo! I guess getting something published in a magazine can be crossed off my list of goals for this year!!

Yarn has arrived for just one of the designs, but I'm currently making arrangements to get the rest of the yarn here toot sweet. Some of the finished items are due May 10th!! Hear that? That's my Senseo machine whirring happily in the background...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Got Jimbo?

If you don't have one of Jimbo's handcarved hooks, you are missing out on a real treat. I received my custom hook recently and I can't express just how much I love it. He even made it it nice and long (over 8 inches) to fit in my manly hand...

Here is part of his story in his own words:

Years ago my sis and I lived on a ranch up in the mountains of northern Washington State. We both loved the place dearly and were heart broken when our dad became ill and the place had to be sold. Since then it's been my life's dream to get the place back. Dreams do come true, and a few years back I was able to buy 30 acres of the ranch back.

What's that to do with crochet? Well back in the olden days my sis and I used to play around an old apple tree (shown in photo to the left) on a slope behind our cabin. Now years later, the cabin is gone but the tree is still there. Also, my sis lives in California and isn't really well enough to come back home much, so on birthdays and other occasions that warrant a gift, I try to make her something that originated from the ranch. I've done picture frames from shingles salvaged from the cabin, tealight candle holders from small aspens that grow on the ranch, and finally, crochet hooks from dead branches donated by the old apple tree.

Well, the crochet hooks turned out to be really special because every time she uses them, she's holding a sacred little piece of the ranch, in addition to something I made with my hands. But it has turned out to be more than just a nostalgic sort of thing... the hooks really work well. So I made more and found that other folks (who aren't quite so biased) marvel at their feel.

For me it is amazing to be part of this story by crocheting with one of Jimbo's hooks. Yes, the craftmanship is amazing, but I feel Jimbo's spirit is even more amazing and I hope he fulfills his dream!!

If you want to know more he blogs about the progress here:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Up The Nose and On The Grill

I know this particular picture isn't truly crochet related, but c'mon, isn't this the funniest thing you've ever seen? Doesn't it make you want to run right down to CVS and buy a Neti Pot? What the heck is a neti pot, and why would one want one? And would one really dress this nicely, fresh from the beauty salon, just to put one of these up one's nose? It must be fun because she looks so darned happy! Actually she looks like she's trying to seduce me. (I gotta get out more)

Who You Callin' Chicken?

Here is what actual poultry looks like on the grill. Don't get me wrong, nothing is yummier than crocheted turkey hot off the grill (kids, please don't try that at home, it's not for real). Anywho, last night I put together the rotissarie for the grill and cooked me a chicken. This is what it looked like after about five minutes. Turns out cooking chicken at 700 degrees is too hot. Who knew?

(you may have to click the play button twice if the first time through is a bit choppy)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Shameless Knitting for Cat Lovers

First the shameless:

I'm very sad to say that I'm quickly losing my standing in the Crochet Top Site List. I have to call on you, my dear wonderful bestest friends a dude could ever have to click that button at the end of this paragraph or over there on the right and vote for me (pretty pretty please with hot fudge on top). It's free, and fun, and although you won't win anything you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that I will sleep tonight, and not in a shiraz induced type of sleep, but the kind of sleep that comes from knowing that one has one's peeps watching out for one.... (one likes one's run on sentences... too much coffee once again...)

Top Site List

Now the knitting:

I've finally made some progress on the Cameo Easy Aran Cable Unisex Pullover that I started at the end of January. For more info on the yarn, etc, check the blog entry from that date.

Detail of the sweater. You can actually see the cables, etc, in real life, but they are a bugger to photograph, eh? (see I speak Canadian now, eh?) Oh my stars...

I'm almost to the point of beginning the shaping. How exciting is that?

And for cat lovers:

Why I get a little homesick every time I travel...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oh Canada.....

As some of you may or may not have noticed, I've been away for a few days. I took off, eh? to the great white north... beauty, eh?

Anywho, I got back last night from a five (or so) day trip to Canada. I started in Toronto where I met up with Sherri, of Stashaholic fame. We went yarn shopping with a few Toronto hookers... old joke I know, but still makes me snicker if used creatively.. Sherri and I took the train the next day to Kingston where we met up with some more hookers (see how creatively I used that?) and spent the weekend there. Sherri taught a tunisian crochet class at the local yarn shop on Saturday. It was fun learning something new!

All images are clickable!!

The Stash Stallion

Learning Tunisian Crochet in Kingston

The tunisian toolbelt I made in class

Handing out HMB squares (thanks y'all)

Mmmm, gotta love that cake!

Trying Timbits for the first time!

Selfportrait at dinner

Knitting my first sock

Beauty, eh?

Janette & Ann at Wool-Tyme in Kingston

Selfportrait, helping Sherri & Peggy with dinner

"Hand over the yarn and no one gets hurt!"

Stashaholic, Coffeeholic, Pirkaholic

Liz, Giselle, Angela, Sherri, Sue
Sushi dinner in Toronto

And of course, the loot...

One of Pirk's scrumbles... amazing! I am so honored she would give me one of her creations. Check out her site to see what amazing stuff she creates!

Angela gave me this wonderful Alpaca. I may just keep it on the shelf in my studio for touch therapy!

This is an incredible yarn that I got at Wool-Tyme in Kingston. I bought enough to make a sweater. More on that later!

I didn't buy any of this, but they sure had a lot of it. I wondered what a shag rug would look like if it were on a spool. I didn't buy this, btw, although I was tempted.

This Fleece Artist merino wool is incredible.

And this Mohair/Silk blend is amazing too. Hand dyed in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Check out the Fleece Artist website.

Well shoot...

While in Canada I found out that there were a few little type-OHs in the Drew-string Purse pattern booklet. Never fear! Just email me your Lulu receipt and I will send you the corrected PDF. If you are planning to buy the booklet rest assured that the current version available is the corrected one.

Now I have to go mow the lawn. Apparently it's been warm and humid in Houston (go figger) and the grass grew about six inches while I was gone! Woo hoo!