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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mucho Exito

The trunk show/meet-n-greet was such good fun! I was able to meet lots of new people and also some that I "know" from cyber-space but hadn't met in real life. Thank you to everyone that showed up and made the event such a success!
Mary Charles was generous enough to allow me to use the entire classroom for my trunk show. If you look closely you can see a lot of my new designs as well as some classic Crochet Dude! I discovered very early in the day that there is a fine line between a poncho and a skirt (hey, I'm a dude...there is a learning curve). Anywho, lady after lady picked up the Pretty Pleats with Mango On Top poncho and held it up their waist saying "this is such a cute skirt!". I only disagreed twice then I realized that you know what? It is a cute skirt! We all agreed though that the Little Black Poncho would only work as a skirt on Paris Hilton... (use your imagination). The trunk show is still set up at Mary Charles Yarn Co. until tomorrow so if you'd like to stop in and see the designs in person feel free!

This is a shot of another room in the yarn shop. The store is the second floor of an old historic house very close to Rice University. The floors are all hardwood, and there are several different rooms with yarn in each one. Such a warm and friendly atmosphere!

Here I am with the lovely Mary Charles herself. She should be very proud of the fantastic shop she has set up (only open since last fall). I wish her much success!!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Meet N Greet

I just confirmed with Mary Charles Yarn Co. that I will be appearing at their wonderful store tomorrow from 10am to 6pm to meet, greet, give free impromtu crochet lessons and also consultations (bring a project or pattern you are having trouble with and I'll help you sort it out). If you are in the Houston area please stop on by!

And the very best part is that all yarn and books are on sale! Woo hoo!!

I will also have a little "trunk show" set up and you'll be able to see in person the Spring & Summer Drew-strings, Dawn, Jennifer, Do Your Wooly Vest, Do Your Cottony Vest, Chic on the Halfshell, Crazy Aunt Purl Poncho, Pretty Pleats with Mango On Top Poncho, and a new purse that I'm about to go suck out of my brain and create this evening. I think I'll call it "Julia". Come be the first to see it!

Click here for a.. map to Mary Charles Yarn Co.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Idol Appearance

I have this bad habit of not watching American Idol until the final episode. And then I have it on in the other room (I really can't handle two hours of bad singing) just sort of waiting for the winner to be announced. I suppose I'm afraid that I won't know the latest tidbit of pop culture, and although the water cooler only includes me and two cats, I still don't want to be that out of the loop. Taylor Hicks won, he kept yelling something I couldn't understand but the crowd responded to. It sounded like "Bobeedo" or somesuch. Do you think he's going to get a "Just For Men" endorsement deal now?

It Aint Easy for a Dude

Since the purpose of this blog is to journal the process of becoming a professional designer, not all of it is going to be pretty, right? Take yesterday for example. On one hand I received some very nice feedback on "Dawn" and a few people even bought the pattern. Woo hoo! On the other hand, two of the felted items that SCCM had me do last month for a January issue were ultimately deemed unusable and that they would be returning them. I suppose they imagined the items differently than how they turned out. They are pretty much exactly like the swatch/sketch from which they made the decision to have me produce the items and patterns. I can only conclude that when they looked at the swatch/sketch their own imagination filled in the details differently than mine did. It's like a whole new level of rejection though and hopefully I won't have to get accustomed to it as I develop. Having a swatch/sketch returned as "not what we are looking for" is very easy. Having the final item (that one has worked on round the clock for days and days) returned as "unusable" kinda feels like getting kicked in the guts.

That being said, I'm still pleased with how both of them turned out, so I definitely plan to publish them myself. Lemonade my friends. Lemonade.

Potential Appearance

A LYS here in Houston near Rice University is having a big sale this Saturday and the owner contacted me to see if I would make an appearance. Although it's not totally confirmed I'm pretty much planning on going at least for a for a few hours (once it's confirmed I will give times that I will be at the shop). I will be there to give impromptu basic crochet lessons, answer any crochet related questions that anyone has about a pattern or project, etc. I'm also going to set up a little trunk show of my designs. I have worked up Chic on the Halfshell in a yarn that they carry there (a wonderful Blue Sky Organic Cotton - wowza!) and created a one-page version of the pattern to give out for free. If you are in the Houston area come check out this little gem of a yarn shop and introduce yourself; I'd love to meet you! Here is her website with location info, etc: Mary Charles Yarn Co.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dawn - A Purse to Crochet

My sister Dawn (the one with the Mercedes, sauna and room for a pony) called to let me know that I must have been thinking of her when I designed this purse, since it is in her favorite color - purple! While I can't send her the prototype because I'm putting together a trunk show of all my designs (more on that later) I can name the pattern after her, right?! I'm so drunk with power I can't stand myself sometimes...

Now Available!

Just look how fancy I'm getting with the Photoshop. I cut this image out and even created a shadow on a background that is the same color as the yarn! Hotdiggitydawg!

Anywho...click here:

Monday, May 22, 2006

Does This Blue Make My House Look Big?

Perhaps you've heard me go on and on about the talented Dave Daniels of Cabin Cove fame? He is an amazing quilter, knitter, spinster, and dyer (is that even a word?) who has recently decided to share his wonderful colorways with the world. I ordered a skein of his incredible Peruvian merino wool dyed in his own Cabin Cove colorway. As seen in this photo, Miss Chandler approves! I hope you'll go to his blog and check out everything he is offering up. He has even debuted a colorway called "Miss Lulu" that perfectly matches his cat's pink ears and blue eyes. Amazing!

Dave Daniels Cabin Cove & Mercantile

The hank has 440 yards with a gauge of 7-8 stitches per inch on size 1 to 3 needles. Any idea how big of a project I could squeeze out of that? Is that enough for a pair of dude socks?

I Need A Weekend from my Weekend

I spent a LOT of the weekend painting the house. I was able to do two more walls out front. The trim needed a lot of repair and of course it was 95 degrees and 105% humididity...you'd think I'd be slimmer. Anywho, I also worked on the floor of the porch giving it two coats of porch paint. I didn't get a photo of that yet, because, well, it's not that exciting.

While I was around back taking photos of the compost pile (more on that at a later date) I noticed the wall where I had painted all the swatches of the first set of colors that almost became the house. My main concern was making the house look good against the greenness that is Houston. There are certain houses in the 'hood that honestly clash with the green. That must be disconcerting for the occupants, wouldn't you think?

I Won!

And, since I actually posted a blog entry you can conclude that I won the heartworm medication battle. And, amaze your friends and astonish your relatives by telling them that I also clipped the cats' claws and brushed their teeth for good measure! I bet they wish I had a job outside of the house...

Friday, May 19, 2006


I finished the shell yesterday for the twin set that I'm designing. It's a wonderful sage green made from Classic Elite yarns "Premiere" cotton blend. Love. This. Yarn. For the cardigan I needed to make the decision on color yesterday and finally settled on going a little bit lighter. This is of course with the intention of making the shell have a slimming effect, because darker colors recede. Anywho, I finished about half the cardigan a few minutes ago and thought I'd share a sneekpeek. I'm hoping to have the crocheting finished this weekend and photograph sometime next week (whilst editing the pattern).


Thank you to everyone who has left such encouraging comments and also sent me private emails about my purse designs. I'm so happy that you like them!! I think I enjoy creating them because it reminds me of Legos. When I was a lil dude (around 7 or 8 years old) I would build little villages out of Legos and always liked the challenge of engineering each building. Purses require a similar approach. There is a LOT of ripping out along the way, but it's very cool when I figure it out how to make it work.

Day Three

Today is the day that I take control and win the heartworm medicine battle. I have removed the food bowl completely and when they get hungry enough, they will each this heartworm treat. If I don't blog Monday, you'll know who really won...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's Stuck

Ever get an idea stuck in yer head? Last night while watching Deal or No Deal (isn't Donna hot?!?!) I got the idea for this purse in my head. I made it out of cotton in two colors. I finished it up this afternoon after spending about four hours yarn shopping. Hey, a dude needs supplies, right? Anywho, I will be writing up the pattern soon. I found the yarn for the cardigan that I'm working on. It's the same color green but a few shades lighter, that way the shell will have even more of a slimming effect. Now if only PB&J would have the same effect.

Yesterday's List

I did everything on my list yesterday (and one more, I designed this purse here) except the heartworm medicine. I'm going to keep talking to Cleo & Chandler and somehow get them to think that taking the medicine is their idea. It's called "reverse psychology" and it works. Such a good dad...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Seven Things To Do Today

I've been trying to get an earlier start each day and yesterday went very well. By 9am I had pretty much finished any emails, paperwork, etc that needed urgent attention. I had some work to do for HMB right away, then I was able to hunker down and crochet for a couple of hours. I'm still amazed at how much other stuff there is to do to become a designer besides actually designing. It is truly a business venture and shouldn't be thought of as otherwise. Professionalism, dedication, hours of work with no compensation, etc, are all part of the deal.

This close up is of a new sweater set that I am working for my pattern line. The yarn is a wonderful cotton blend that I do believe must have been invented for the sheer joy of crochetiers. It's soft, the stitch definition is wonderful, and the drape is just fantastic. More details when I have the pattern ready to be published.

One Step Closer

I'm getting closer and closer to having the front of the house painted. It's amazing how many details have to be taken care of and I now understand why it can be costly to have your house painted. The porch for example has the ceiling, the trim, the walls, the door, the metal upright thingies, and all that has to be done in the right order with the floor being last. It was fun powerwashing the floor because as the peeling paint stripped away I was able to see all the different colors that it has been over the last 70 years. Once the porch is finished I can finish off the front of the house, much to the happiness of my poor neighbors.

Today's Agenda

  1. Ship out charity stuff
  2. Ship out design submission to NYC
  3. Crochet work for sweater set
  4. Start writing up pattern for Jennifer purse
  5. Finish assembling comfortghan
  6. Mow back lawn
  7. Attempt to give cats their heartworm pills
Not necessarily in that order

Monday, May 15, 2006


I was able to finish this purse over the weekend. It's going to be next pattern that I am going to publish via Lulu so keep yer eyes peeled! I've named it "Jennifer".

Photographing red is tricky. For the longest time I thought it was my old camera having red issues. I got this Olympus a few months ago and it had the same troubles. I'm learning little by little how to tweak photos via Photoshop so that the reds are true. This photo came out pretty close to the actual color. It's sort of a dark pink.

Calico House

I was also able to get another side of the house painted. It was H.O.T. that day too. The more I do the more I like the color. It's such a refreshing blue, especially compared to the drab of the grey. Not that grey isn't nice, because I do think it is, but it doesn't represent my personality (IMHO). Should I be embarrassed that neighbors cheer me on as they walk past? I'm sure they are placing bets on how long it's going to take me to finish...

Still Spring?

I thought that gladiolas blossomed in the spring, but apparently not this variety. This is the first stalk to blossom so far. They are leftovers from the previous owners and they appear to be multiplying. The gladiolas, not the previous owners, at least that I know of, maybe they are multiplying too? I guess that's none of my beeswax...

Warm Thanks

I would like to thank everyone who left such nice comments on yesterday's post. Mother's Day is a bit rough for me, and your kind words helped get me through the day. When I was a teen and Mom and I were out for coffee, sometimes she would look at the other customers' meals and lament that she wished she had the money to buy us hangleburgers (her nickname for hamburgers). So yesterday I went for a big juicy hangleburger and quietly gave thanks.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Although my mother Dolores passed away a few years ago today is a very special day for me. It's the day that I take a few extra moments and try to recognize all that she taught me, sacrificed for me, and did for me throughout the years.

My parents split up and she was suddonly a single mom when I was just four years old. And although a few of my older siblings had left home, there were still four of us left to care for. I really have no idea how she did it. How did she keep it all together so well? Now that I'm an adult I understand a bit of why she would stop at the coffee shop on the way home and rest after a long day's work, have a coffee and some quiet time before heading back to our house. When you're a child you don't understand. Now I do.

Why is it so easy as a teenager and young adult to go out with your friends and leave your mom at home? Probably because kids think that parents will always be there. That nothing could ever change that drastically; so they become very self-involved. If I could tell a teenager one thing about life it would be that times with family are to be cherished, because although moms shouldn't go away, sometimes they do. And getting them back sometimes doesn't happen.

And of course despite all my crazy moving around to different states and even other countries Mom was always there back home, answering every letter and phone call. What a priviledge it was to be able to call her up and ask her how to get a ketchup stain out of a shirt, or, what was Grandma's middle name again?

For a few of my adult years I lived in Michigan near Mom. We would go for coffee often. I'm getting an idea of what going for coffee meant to her as I realize just how hard she had to have worked just to keep food on the table. For me going for coffee meant I would have some quality time with her. I think it's the one thing I miss the most; going for coffee with Mom. Recently a family member was visiting and we went for coffee, and of course I had my hopes up that the experience would be special... but there we were in a coffee shop and I had my coffee and she had her six dollar mochafrappawhatever and it hit me that perhaps you really can't go back. My heart remembers those simple fifty-cent cups of coffee at a greasy spoon in Michigan, but now the world is having six dollar coffees that are hard to pronounce.

Dolores Emborsky

Happy mother's day Mom. Your little boy misses you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ask and ye shall receive....

Yesterday I mentioned that I had no idea when/where the pattern for the suede purse would be published, and today it shows up!

The pattern is now available on the Lion Brand website. Click the photo to the left or click here: Crochet Purse

It's unfortunate that they don't give designer credit there, but it doesn't stop me from pointing out my designs, right? You could always go to this form on their website and tell them how much you like the purse and that perhaps it's the coolest pattern you have ever seen and that Drew Emborsky should get a promotion/raise/his own line of patterns, etc:

Lion Brand Feedback Form

Last Chance for Romance
Last Day of Sale!

Today is the final day of my anniversary sale! Don't miss out, collect them all, make your friends green with envy, unless they have them all too and then they wouldn't be envious or green, of course if they come from Mars they may or may not be green but seriously, do they even crochet on Mars and if not, why the heck not?

Click me, click me now!

Edit: the sale has concluded! Thank you to everyone that made it a success. And although the patterns are back to regular price, don't let that stop you from indulging. You deserve it!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Suede Assassination

This morning first thing I made a list of the smaller projects that I have left stewing on the back burner while making the items for the magazines. There are a lot more than I realized and I have decided to focus entirely on one item at a time until it is finished. Usually I spread myself out some working a few hours on one project, then moving on and working a few hours on another project, and in this way avoid burning out or getting fatigued.

Today's project was a purse for my neighbor across the street. No, not the one that I can see from the piano room allegedly with or without binoculars. That would just be creepy for everyone. My house is on a corner lot so the across the street to which I am referring is actually across from my faux garage, and as you could see from the photo yesterday there is a bookcase directly in between me and this neighbor. That and my guest bedroom too. Anywho, I bartered modeling services for a suede purse. She is a college student and her mother is a real estate agent and they are just about the prettiest ladies I've seen in a long time. How lucky can one dude get? First Melissa Leapman as a mentor, and now models for neighbors that will trade posing for crocheted items? I'm so glad Saturn is no longer in Uranus. I'm just saying.

This is a purse that I designed for a yarn company back in December. I called about a week ago and asked them when/where the pattern would be published and they said they had no idea. I think it is in the archives for now. Sad, aint it? Such a nice purse and no way to share it with all y'all (did you know "all y'all" is the plural of "y'all"?).


Here are few more examples of the now identified assassination nymphs (thanks everyone for helping me identify the little buggers). The adults look like dinosaurs to me (pics of those when these little dudes grow up). Good thing I have never handled one because thanks to the commenters on this lil' blog I have learned that they bite, hard, and hurt like nothing you've ever felt before. But they are beneficial insects and since I don't use chemicals in my garden I welcome their presence.

Just One More Day!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Yesterday after blogging I turned on the British comedies on BBC in the guest bedroom (I don't have a t.v. in my bedroom because Oprah says you're not supposed to, and I know with my luck someday she'll be doing a show about crochet dudes in Houston that may or may not have tv's in their bedrooms and she'll show up with a camera crew and then won't I regret not listening to her and putting the tv in the guestbedroom? She'll go all Oprah on my butt...) Anywho, I thought I would just lay down for a minute and close my eyes. 3 1/2 hours later I woke up. I was apparently exhausted.

This is the aftermath of my recent deadlines. I took over the piano room because my router booster blew up in a thunderstorm earlier this year and in this room I get a pretty decent signal:

And this is what it's like to be inside my head for the last month. Just to my right is a window that looks out on the front lawn so I can look at flowers and the neighbors with my binoculars...ooops, did I say that out loud?

The End Is Near!

Not of the world, just for your chance to get my patterns at 20% off! Why wait until the last minute? Don't make me call Oprah....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I actually had time to go grocery shopping this morning! Woo hoo!! I also had time to finish up some socks that I've been working on since before I went to Canada! It was my first try at knitting socks so just the fact that they actually fit makes me happy. I used Louet Gems Topaz wool and they came comfy and slouchy. I don't see myself wearing these inside shoes, but in the winter they will be great to wear around the crib, youknowhatimsayin'? Do people actually say "crib" anymore? I gotta watch MTV more.

Anywho... Here are the pics:

Slouch Socks are sooo 80's!

I hope that's your sock I smell...

The UK Caint Git 'Nuff

A fellow Lulu author emailed me to let me know that the London Telegraph has mentioned my crocheted dishcloth patterns again! Woo hoo! Now what the heck does "arcane" mean?
I'm cheap, and easy!
Which reminds me, just a few more days left of the big anniversary sale! Don't wait and take the chance of all the books selling out. Well, so they don't really sell out because most people buy the download version, and even if you did buy the print version they actually print them on demand. But still, act now and I'll throw in a spoonful of extra good karma!

Monday, May 08, 2006


I just this minute returned from the post office where I shipped off the final item to Interweave Crochet... er, I mean, Super Cool Crochet Magazine II. Okay okay, it's the second generation of Chic on the Halfshell. Remember I said that Chic was a prototype and that I submitted the next generation to a magazine? Interweave Crochet bought the design for their Fall 2006 issue. Can you believe that guacamole?

I also took along with me two other design proposals for two other magazines. Gotta work it, dude! Keep yer hooks crossed!

Sale Sale Sale

Thank you to everyone who has made the Anniversary Sale a success so far this week. If you are still wanting to get some of my patterns at 20% off the sale will continue until Friday!

I know I know, the pattern for Chic is free, but doesn't it look cool in this ad? And besides, you CAN download the pattern for Chic at the same place my patterns are for sale, so I think it's a legitimate use of a photograph.


Because I haven't had much time to do anything but work on those magazine projects the only other photos I have to share are from the yard. Houston had some pretty good rainstorms over the weekend and here are a few of the photos the morning after.

*click me and I'll get bigger*
DuderingsThese rings were around the trees in the front yard when I moved in but they didn't have any flowers at all, just dirt. I'm painting the house blue with white trim, so I'm sticking with flowers in the red color range. How patriotic!

Happy PlantThis plant was a gift last year from my friends Kevin, Connie & Jerrah (I call them KevConJer, sounds very futuristic, duddn't it?) Anywho, it obviously likes the shady side yard because it has three blossoms at once right now. The pure white against the deep green is amazing.

Ginger or Marianne?Then of course there are these, the prettiest weeds I've ever seen. I call them weeds because no matter how hard I try to control them they pretty much take over any place in the yard that doesn't get too much sun. They are ornamental gingers and originate in Indonesia (from what I've been able to gather from the Internet). Most of them are around 8 feet tall and these bunches of blossoms are about 15".

Friday, May 05, 2006

First Anniversary of Pattern Line

Today marks one year since launching "The Crochet Dude Presents..." pattern line! To celebrate I have marked down all my patterns 20% for one week only!!

Who knew last year on this day that a little pattern book called "Ten Crochet Dude Dishcloths" would end up being my top seller and would also be featured in publications such as The Sunday Telegraph in London as well as other papers in the US and Australia? And although it was voted via a national poll as one of the ten books least likely to be on any best seller list last summer, it has made me very proud!

I want to thank everyone that has supported my efforts to break into the design industry. Your feedback and encouragement have helped tremendously! And although I have such a long way to go to establish myself as a designer y'all have believed in me and that means so much. Thank you!!! Y'all rock!! Click here to be even more supportive:

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Almost there!

Thank you very much to everyone that listened to the podcast and left me such encouraging comments. That means so much to me!! If you had trouble listening Jennifer has a help page on her site Craftsanity.com that may help you troubleshoot the issue.

And to all the new readers that have found my blog via the podcast I'd like to say "welcome" and I hope you'll stick around for a while!

SCCM I - almost finished!

I have two out of the three items for Super Cool Crochet Magazine-1 all boxed and ready to be shipped. The third one may or may not get shipped today (last day to send it at a reasonable rate. Designers pay their own shipping and so going a tad slower saves some moolah.) If I have to I will send it 2-day or even overnight if that's what it takes. There is still a chance it will be finished today. Hooks crossed!

I will be very glad when I start blogging about projects that I can show you photos of. It's a lot more fun for me!

Mentor is not just a mint...

I received word from the CGOA professional mentor committee. Apparently Crazy Aunt Purl's horoscope for May is scarily accurate. She predicts very good things for Cancerians this month and so far it's working out that way! Remember how I very flippantly and without expectation said that I wondered if Melissa Leapman were available to be my mentor? Was the Universe listening? Does someone at CGOA really read my blog (or my mind...scary!)? I found out yesterday that indeed the uber-successful, uber-talented Leapman has agreed to mentor me. I'm still in shock and very VERY worried I'm going to make donkey's butt out of myself whilst communicating with her.

kitty butt

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I really am shy....

And to prove it I will share the link to the podcast that was, um, podcasted last night. The lovely Jennifer of Craftsanity fame called last week and we talk for a little bit, which she recorded for her podcast. I was hoping she would edit out all the naughty bits but she didn't. Oh well... to listen to it the necessary links are on her site:

Monday, May 01, 2006

Oh So Close

I got so much finished over the weekend! Woo hoo! The largest project (used 20 skeins of Lamb's Pride wool) was finished yesterday afternoon. Have you ever been driving along in fog and then suddenly you have driven out of it and it's sunny? (and you don't feel like your guts are going to turn inside out anymore?) That's exactly how I felt when I did the finishing touches to this project. Now I can almost feel free to go into my front yard because every time I do anymore at least one neighbor looks at my half painted house and says "when are you going to finish that?". When it happened yesterday I just told her that I'm going for a calico effect. She thinks I was joking.

The yarn that I have been waiting for to finish the very last project arrived about ten minutes ago. It's a pigtail yarn from Caron called "Fling". I'm not sure if it's on the market yet, but it sure is cool.

Nature Calls

And to illustrate the nature of the biz, although I am up to my dudestrils in projects that have to be shipped out this week, I had to take the time to finalize and ship some proposals to other magazines for consideration. Two different mags had submission deadlines this week and I don't think they would hold up their decisions because The Crochet Dude is busy. So, to the backburner goes the wool, and to the front burner comes the mohair. I'm just sayin...


As I said last week a podcast interview that I did a couple of weeks ago should be published today. (Does one publish a podcast? or does one broadcast a podcast? or is "podcast" itself a verb?) Anywho, I just checked and it's not done podcasted yet, but as soon as it is I will let y'all know.

What Am I?

Can you identify this insect? Friend or foe?