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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming Soon: Angel Wings Comfort or Prayer Shawl

I have been working for some time on a new shawl design, which I am calling "Angel Wings Comfort or Prayer Shawl." The pattern will be available for purchase in a few weeks on http://bellacrochet.com/
and has been picked up by Annie's Attic for their October catalog.

The really cool thing about this shawl is....

It is actually shaped like a pair of Angel's wings!

 This is the "Angel's Touch Throw," which is the gift pattern that will come with the purchase of the Angel Wings Shawl. I love the ruffled edging!
It is really hard to get a good picture of an afghan; at least it is for me!

I will post a link when the pattern is available for purchase. I hope you like it!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Question for You

When I first started blogging, one of the main things I wanted to do was post pictures of my designs in progress. I wanted to show them in the beginning stages, or about half way finished, and then later on show the finished design when it was available to be purchased.
But every time I posted a picture of a design that was not finished, I would get emails from people asking "where can I buy this pattern" or even worse "will you share the pattern" (the most dreaded phrase among professional designers!) So I have not been posting WIP (works in progress) pictures lately.
I try to make it clear that these designs are not finished, and will be available for purchase on my site in the near future, but I am afraid I am just causing confusion.
So, what do you think? Should I post pictures of my designs that are not finished yet?
The Woodland Fairy in progress. The pattern is now available at:
woodlandfairy

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Less is More


I know myself well enough to know that I have a tendency  to overdo things; hey, I have 6 kids, what can I say? (Just kidding, kids!)
Anyway, when I first started designing, I was not very sure of myself, so I looked to others for guidance in creating my designs. When the Design Coordinator of Annie's Attic asked me to make a tissue box cover, I asked her what she had in mind. She said something like, "Oh, you know, something colorful, with filet crochet, Irish roses, ribbons, something like that." Of course she meant I should use one of these things, not all of them, but in my beginners zeal, I went all out and incorporated every single thing she had mentioned into my design. This little tissue box cover was the result, and I am amazed that they actually bought and published it.
I have found that a lot of designers think they have to go all out, and do weird and unusual things in order to make their designs special. But in reality,  the best designs are those that achieve  beauty through simplicity, and they are a lot easier and more fun to make, too.


Monday, June 20, 2011

And the winner is:

Vikki!
Thanks to everyone who entered! I appreciate your input, and I am going to try to make the blog better and more interesting. I will be adding more free patterns and a few more tutorials, and I am thinking about adding some fiction (crochet related, of course) and a crochet-a-long this fall.
And I will definitely be having more contests!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Contest: Blue Birds of Happiness Doily Pattern

I would like to increase the number of visitors to my blog, so I thought I would have a contest. I will be giving one person PDF copies of my new Blue Birds of Happiness Doily, and the gift pattern that comes with it, the Rhapsody Rose Doily.



The contest will run over the weekend. I will select the winner at random Monday morning (the 20th.)
I will send the the patterns to the winner as attachments to an email, so I must have a way to get in touch with you if you are the winner. Be sure you leave some way to contact you; Ravelry or Etsy id's or a link back to your blog. If I am not able to contact the winner on Monday morning, I will select another winner.
 Since the prize will be emailed, this contest is open to everyone, anywhere in the world.
To enter, leave a comment on this post answering this question:
What kind of post would you most like to see here in the future? Tutorials? Interviews with designers? Free patterns? More contests? Just let me know.
Thanks for entering, and good luck!
Update, June 20, 2011: This contest is now closed. Please check back often, I will be having new contests in the future!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Great Loss to the Crochet Community

I was saddened to learn of the death of Jean Leinhauser, who passed away today from a heart attack.
Jean was a pioneer in the crochet pattern publishing field. She founded not only Leisure Arts back in the 70's, but also the American School of Needlework. She has published countless crochet  books with her business partner, Rita Weiss.
Before Jean started Leisure Arts, most crochet patterns were published by yarn and thread mills. There were a few designers who self-published their designs, such as Elizabeth Hiddleson and Esther Parnell Hewlett, and there were a few magazines, such as Workbasket, that published crochet patterns. But I believe that Leisure Arts was the first company to publish pattern leaflets by different designers  and market them to department stores and other retail outlets.
I first met Jean at a Crochet Guild convention several years ago. She was a sweet lady who always seemed to be surrounded by a bevy of designers and admirers. After I left DRG and began self-publishing, I wrote to her, asking about the possibility of submitting some of my designs for a book she was editing. I never assume that anyone will remember  me, so I re-introduced myself, telling her who I was and where we had met. She wrote me back saying, "Of course I remember you, you are the girl from Texas who drinks Dr. Pepper." After I opened my website last year, she wrote me a kind note, complimenting my designs and wishing me success. It meant a great deal to me that she thought well of my work.
She was a great lady, and the world of crochet  owes her much. She will be greatly missed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Decorative Checkerboard Potholders: a Free Crochet Pattern for You

As you may have guessed, I really love vintage-look thread crochet designs; I am a doily and potholder girl and make no excuses for it.
One of the first things I self-published was this set of decorative potholders; notice please that I said 'decorative.' They are made from size 10 cotton, and have holes in them; they are not thick enough to protect you or your counter tops from hot pans or dishes. Please DO NOT use them to handle hot items, and if you sell them or give them as gifts make sure you let the person receiving them know this, too. Still, they make a lovely decorative accent to a kitchen, and are fast and fun projects to make. I hope you will enjoy them!

Checkerboard Decorative Potholders
by Elizabeth Ann White
for BellaCrochet
Important notice: Please remember, that while these designs are traditionally called “pot holders” they are intended to be used as decorative items only. The size 10 thread from which they are made is not thick enough to protect you from burns. Please do not use them to handle hot items, or to protect surfaces from hot pots or pans.
SIZE: 7 1/4” square, not including hanging loop

Skill Level: Intermediate
General Directions
Note: General instructions for Basic Potholder follow; Materials and colors are listed with individual patterns.
BASIC POTHOLDER
Block (make 10 color A and 8 color B)
Rnd 1: Ch 4, sl st in first ch to form ring, (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2) in ring, (3 dc, ch 2) 3 times in same ring, join with sl st in top of ch-3. (Right side of Rnd 1 is right side of work)
Rnds 2-4: Ch 3, dc in each st around with (2 dc, ch 2 , 2 dc) in each ch-2 sp, join with sl st in top of ch-3. At end of last rnd, fasten off.

With sewing needle and thread, sew individual Blocks together to form 2 Sides of 9 Blocks each in the following order:

A B A
B A B
A B A

Edging
Rnd 1: Holding both Sides of joined Blocks wrong sides together, matching stitches and working through both thicknesses, join color thread specified in individual pattern with sc in any corner sp, (ch 20, sc) in same sp as joining (hanging loop made), sc in next 15 sts, (sc in next ch sp, sc in first ch sp on next Block, sc in next 15 sts) 2 times, *3 sc in corner ch sp, sc in next 15 sts, (sc in next ch sp, sc in first ch sp on next Block, sc in next 15 sts) 2 times; repeat from * around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.
Rnd 2: Join color specified in individual pattern with sc in last sc of Rnd 1, reverse sc in each st and ch around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Checkerboard Roses
Materials:
Size 10 Crochet Cotton Thread:
  100 yds each Green (A), Rose (B) and Shaded Pinks
Sewing needle and matching thread
Fabric glue
Spray Starch
Size 7 crochet hook

1: Make Basic Potholder following General Directions using Green as color A and Rose as color B.
2: With Green, work Rnd 1 of Edging.
3: With Shaded Pinks, work Rnd 2 of Edging.

Rose (make 5)
Rnd 1: With Shaded Pinks, ch 4, sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 1, (sc in ring, ch 3) 6 times, join with sl st in first sc.
Rnd 2: Sl st in first ch sp, (sc, ch 1, 3 dc, ch 1, sc) in each ch sp around, join. (6 petals made)
Rnd 3: Ch 3, (sl st in next sp between petals, ch 3) around, join.
Rnd 4: Sl st in first ch sp, (sc, ch 1, 5 dc, ch 1, sc) in each ch sp around, join. Fasten off.
Finishing
1: Spray Potholder with spray starch and allow to dry.
2: Glue Roses to green Blocks on one side of Potholder.

Checkerboard Cherries

Materials:
Size 10 Crochet Cotton Thread:
  100 yds each Black (A) and Cream (B)
  75 yds Red
  50 yds Green
Sewing needle and matching thread
Fabric glue
Spray Starch
Stitch markers
Size 7 crochet hook

1: Make Basic Potholder following General Directions using Black as color A and Cream as color B.
2: With Black, work Rnd 1 of Edging.
3: With Red, work Rnd 2 of Edging.

Cherry ( make 5)
For each Cherry, cut one strand of Red thread 36” long to use as stuffing.
Note: Work in rounds, do not join or turn work; mark first st of each rnd.
Rnd 1: With Red, ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around. (12)
Rnds 3-5: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 6: (Sc next 2 sts tog) 6 times; leaving a long (about 12”) end of thread, fasten off.
Stuff Cherry with Red thread. Weave long end through sts of last rnd. Pull end  to close top of Cherry. Secure end.
First Leaf
With Green, ch 11, 3 sc in second ch from hook, hdc in next ch, dc in each of next 2 chs, tr in each of next 2 chs, dc in each of next 2 chs, hdc in next ch, 3 sc in last ch; working on opposite side of ch, hdc in next ch, dc in each of next 2 chs, tr in each of next 2 chs, dc in each of next 2 chs, hdc in next ch, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.
Second Leaf
Work same as First Leaf, but do not fasten off.
To join Leaves, ch 2, hdc in first sc of First Leaf, ch 1, sc in space between ch-2 and hdc just made, do not fasten off (this sc will be the stitch that all Stems are worked into).
For First Stem, ch 10, sl st in top of one Cherry, sl st in each ch of ch-10, sl st in sc.
For Second Stem, ch 15, sl st in top of next Cherry, sl st in each ch of ch-15, sl st in sc.
For Third Stem, ch 20, sl st in top of next Cherry, sl st in each ch of ch-20, sl st in sc.
For Fourth Stem, ch 15, sl st in top of next Cherry, sl st in each ch of ch-15, sl st in sc.
For Fifth Stem, ch 10, sl st in top of last Cherry, sl st in each ch of ch-10, sl st in sc. Fasten off.

Finishing
1: Spray Potholder with spray starch and allow to dry.
2: Glue Cherries and Leaves under hanging loop on one side of Potholder.

Checkerboard Hearts

Materials:
Size 10 Crochet Cotton Thread:
  100 yds each Cream (A), Blue (B) and Burgundy
Sewing needle and matching thread
Fabric glue
Spray Starch
Size 7 crochet hook

1: Make Basic Potholder following General Directions using Cream as color A and Blue as color B.
2: With Burgundy, work Rnd 1 of Edging, at end of rnd, join, do not fasten off.
3: Continuing to work with Burgundy, ch 1, work Rnd 2 of Edging.

Heart (make 5)
Row 1: With Burgundy, ch 4, sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 3, (5 dc, 3 tr, 6 dc) in ring, turn.
Row 2: (Ch 3, dc) in first st, 2 dc in each of next 6 sts, 3 tr in next st, 2 dc in each of last 7 sts, turn.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in first st, (ch 3, skip next 2 sts, sc in next st) 4 times, ch 3, skip next 2 sts, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next st, (ch 3, skip next 2 sts, sc in next st) 5 times; working in ends of rows across top, ch 3, sc in end of Row 2, ch 3, sc in end of Row 1, sl st in starting ch-4 ring, sc in next end of Row 1, ch 3, sc in next end of Row 2, ch 3, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Finishing
1: Spray Potholder with spray starch and allow to dry.
2: Glue Hearts to Cream blocks on one side of Potholder.


Copyright BellaCrochet 2005. All rights reserved. This pattern may not be copied, shared, sold or distributed in any form or fashion.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blue Birds of Happiness Doily and Indian Summer Ruana

I have added two new designs to BellaCrochet.com.
The Blue Birds of Happiness Doily is now available here: bluebirds

The Rhapsody Rose Doily. This pattern is a gift with the purchase of the Blue Bird Doily.

Indian Summer Ruana. This is so quick and easy to make; and I love the yarn. It is'Kertzer/James C. Brett's Marble Chunky', color #0006 Landscape. The pattern is available here: indiansummer

The 'Sweet and Sassy Shrugs.' This is the gift pattern that comes with purchase of the Indian Summer Ruana pattern. 'Sweet and Sassy' was one of my first self published designs, and has not been available for a couple of years. But I have received several inquiries about the pattern, so I decided to bring it back.  
Now I am working on a shawl that is callled "Angel Wings Prayer Shawl' and a bride and groom doily that does not have a name yet.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

FaceBook Contest

I am having a "win it before you can buy it" contest over on Facebook. I will be giving one person pdf copies of my new "Blue Birds of Happiness" doily pattern as well as my "Rhapsody Rose" doily, which is the gift pattern that comes with "Blue Birds."
"Blue Birds of Happiness Doily"

"Rhapsody Rose Doily"
The Blue Birds of Happiness will be available soon on  http://bellacrochet.com/, but for now I hope you will hop over to the bellacrochet FaceBook page and enter for a chance to win.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/BellaCrochet/195106893710
Good luck!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Pet Peeves

I will be the first to admit it: the older I get, the crankier I get. I try to keep a positive attitude about life in general, and about my beloved crochet in particular, but there are a few things that get me  fuming. So please excuse me while I vent a little  bit.
Of course, we all get asked "What are you knitting?" I try to look on this as a chance to introduce the lovely art of crochet to a person who is simply uninformed. And I actually consider it a compliment when someone says to me "You crochet? My grandmother did that!" It is a little more irritating  to be told "Oh, wow, you crochet? That is a dying art!" But still, I tell myself, it is an opportunity for me to educate others about  the art I love.
 But I HATE it when an editor or copy writer thinks they are making a book or pattern sound cool or hip by saying "This is not your Grandma's Crochet!" I have found this usually means that the patterns in question are about  as ugly as a mud fence, and most grandmas would just be embarrassed or confused by them. I almost called my company "Grandma's Crochet," when I was trying to come up with a name for BellaCrochet back in the 90's, which tells you how long some people have been using this aggravating phrase.
As a pattern seller, it bugs me when I get a request like this:
"I  like your doily pattern, but I really just want the pattern for the hummingbird. Can you sell me just that part of the pattern? And how much would you charge me for it?"
The answer? I do not break up my patterns. It would take way too much time to do so. First,  I would have to make copies of  all of the pieces of the specific part of the pattern that is wanted and start a new document.  Then I would have to edit the Materials list, Special Stitches and Finishing instructions and add them to the new document, then create a new pdf and then do a special listing for the new pattern. I have spent many hours getting the complete pattern just right in the first place, and it only costs $7.95. So, no, I will not sell just  a part of a pattern. Unless you are willing to pay me $25.00 for it.
The second thing that really bothers  me as a seller is getting a message that says "Oh, please cancel this sale and refund my money. I thought I was buying a finished doily, not just the pattern." Each one of my designs is clearly listed as "PDF Pattern" and  takes many, many hours to complete. And they think they are getting a finished doily for $7.95? With free shipping? Please!!!!!!
And then there is Ebay.
I love to look at old crochet work on Ebay, but I quickly learned that many sellers have no clue what they are selling. It is not just the "antique" items that I recognize as being made from one of my patterns (hey, I admit I have been designing for a while, but I am not an antique yet!) or the "hand crocheted tablecloths" that are actually machine made lace that bother me. What really gets to me every time is this:

I cannot tell you how many Irish roses I have seen that were photographed upside down. I always want to send the seller a message saying "turn it over, Dummy!"  But I never do.
Isn't it obvious that it is upside down? I guess not.
But anyway, thanks for letting me vent, I feel better now.
Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to crochet?
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