Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I got included in 3 treasuries!

Thank you, Joyce, for including my English Cottage Cozy! You selected some gorgeous items!

And my Swan Queen is in this one:

I love it, pink, pink and more pink!

And last but not least:
The Fairy Doily along with tons of gorgeous thread items.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fairy Doll

I am working on a doll based on the Flower Fairy Doily. I have most of her body and her dress done. Now I am working on her features; I want her to have a face, but I don't like to embroider on crochet; it is never smooth or even enough to suit me, and it is hard to tell others how to do it. So I am trying to crochet her features.

This one of my first attempts at making crocheted eyes (kind of scary looking, huh?) They are not quiet there yet, but I think I am on the right track.
And here are a pair of blue eyes on the doll; I think I like them better, but they are not quite even. And maybe I should add a bead for a pupil. Oh well, I will just keep remaking them until I get them right.
Then I can start on her lips!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Devin's cookie tree; what a masterpiece! (And Jake added the star!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is almost here!

Ginger says "Only 4 more days!"

Even Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf have called a truce for Christmas, and are loaded down with goodies for Grandma.

I bought this ornament for David last year. He says it is a reminder that the dairy business never takes a day off, even for Christmas. Poor David!

My children gave this ornament to me for Christmas in 1986, the year Sammy was born. It says "A mothers love reflects the warmth of Christmas all year through." It is my all time favorite.

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas this year is Peace; and that is my prayer for all my loved ones and friends, too!
Love, Ann

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Amanda!!!

My Sweet Girl Manda is the birthday girl today!
She is the best daughter any one could ever have!

She is a wonderful Mommy to Jasee and Autumn.
And a great sister, granddaughter, aunt, niece, and friend (I hope I didn't leave anyone out.) We all love you Manda! Happy Birthday!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I made my first sale on Etsy!!!!

This is a big deal to me. I have sold thousands of printed patterns wholesale to other vendors, but this is my first retail sale of a pdf of one of my patterns!
Thank you, Barbara, for purchasing my Celtic Rose potholder pattern.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New designs in my Etsy shop

I have added four more designs to my Etsy shop:

The Swan Queen Centerpiece.

Celtic Rose Potholders/wall art/ alternative doilies

Tea Party Doily (it still makes me happy just to look at this, I think it is my all time favorite design!)

And last but not least, my Country Cottage Cozy, which can be used as a tea cozy or cookie jar cover, but would also make a really cool little fairy house. But if you are going to use it as a fairy house, you might want to leave off the kitty cat. I have heard that fairies do not like cats!

I would love to have you stop by at:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sam!!!!

My baby boy is 22 years old today.

He is a wonderful young man. I am so proud of him.
Most of the time.
Anyway, I love you Sammy! I hope you have a great day!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I have an Etsy shop!!!!

I finally took the leap and opened a shop on etsy!
Being the low-tech person I am, I am starting slow. I listed only item, my Flower Garden Fairy Doily pattern, which I am offering in pdf form. As I learn the process, I will be adding more of my designs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Old fashioned Thread Potholders

I am working on the patterns for this set of vintage-inspired potholders this week. I have 16 almost finished. I still want to make at least 4 more; preferably 8. I love making these; I could design and crochet hundreds! But writing the patterns, well, that is a different story.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Crochet by the Sea

My daughter Robyn had to go on a business trip to Galveston last week, and invited me to go with her. Even though it was cold, we had a great time!
We stayed at the beautiful Silverleaf Seaside Resort.

While Mommy worked, Abby and I crocheted.

And played.

And what do you crochet when you are on a trip to the sea side? I worked on an afghan for granddaughter Anna, made with this yarn, "Ocean" from Red Heart (act surprised when you get it, Anna!).

And what stitch pattern would be most appropriate? Why, shells, of course! (oh, and Vsts.)

Although the ravages of Ike were visible everywhere, everyone we met was friendly, kind and upbeat. And the ocean is incredibly beautiful!
Thank you Robyn, for taking me with you!
I had a wonderful time, but I am so glad to be home again. I will be working on patterns next week for an old-fashioned thread potholder ebook.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

She's here!

This is sweet Miss Kyleigh. Isn't she gorgeous?
And I got her jacket, cap and blanket finished in time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is what I am most thankful for today (plus the ones who are not in this picture).
Hope you have a wonderful day with the ones you love!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kyleigh's Jacket

I am finishing up this little cap and jacket for my newest granddaughter, Kyleigh Brianne who is due next Saturday, Nov. 29th.

It is worked in love knots, made with baby sport yarn and an F hook. I hope I finish it in time!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I am so excited to have 6 of my designs on Annie's Attic's sister site, ePatterns Central!

My Super Simple Shaped Shawl (say that fast 3 times!)

Quick and Easy Readers Wrap

Candle Light and Holly Candlemat Doily and Mini Doily Set

Celtic Rose Decorative Potholders

Sunbonnet Girl Pineapple Bag Holder (she has a compartment in her under-skirt to hid plastic shopping bags in). She can either sit on a counter top or hang from the wall.

My all time favorite; the Tea Party Doily.
I am working on 4 more patterns which should be added to the ePatterns site within a couple of weeks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beaded Angel

Okay, she is not crocheted. But I have always loved those baskets made out of safety pins and beads, so when I saw this kit at Walmart yesterday, I knew that for $1.97, I had to give it a try. I first picked out a kit with pink beads, which would match my Christmas decor better (I bought all new ornaments last year, pink, cream and gold-very girly!) but this little purple sweetie just kept calling my name. So, she came home with me and I spent a couple of hours this morning putting her together, and wondering how I could adapt this whole process to include crochet (as usual).
It went pretty smoothly at first, and I even had visions of buying lots of these little kits and putting them together with my grandkids for Christmas this year. The skirt was fun to make, and I got her head and body on with no problem at all. Then I got to the arms. Whoa. Even though I followed the directions exactly (I thought) I just couldn't seem to get those tiny arms right; first they were loose and wobbly. Then I got them too high, and she looked like she didn't have a neck. On the third try, you could see where I had attached them to her body, and it made a weird looking gap in her torso. Finally, I just gave up and took them completely off. Since the kit came with lots of extra beads and wire, I improvised and strung all the beads on one short wire (in the order the directions said they should be). I secured the beads at the ends, then wrapped the center of the wire around her body. Much better. I think she looks just like the package, don't you? I proudly showed her to David, who has learned to just say "Wow, that looks great!" whenever I show him something new. But I don't think I will be making these with my grandkids; we had better stick to making cookies.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Handkerchief Edgings Book
My hanky projects book is now available from Annie's Attic.
I got my copy today, and I love it! The Hunny Bunnys (in the top right corner) are my favorites.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Designs

I have been so busy the last couple of months! Thankfully, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am shipping out patterns for 4 new designs that will be in the next Annie's Attic Catalog. I am also finishing up the doily set pictured here (at least all the pieces are done, I still have to put them together and block them). It is a set of pineapple doilies, all of which have butterflies and Irish Roses incorporated into the design. I'm not sure yet if this will be a AA patern book or if I will self publish them.

This is my "Flower Garden Fairy Doily." I am going to frame her.

Here is my "Country Cottage Cozy." It is meant to be used as a tea cozy or to cover a cookie jar. I just think it is cute, no matter what you cover with it! I love the little kitty cat!

Here is my beautiful granddaughter, Devin, modeling my " Quick and Easy Serape." It is super easy, even for beginners.
And here is Devin in my "Easy Stitch Cape." It is so sweet and feminine, just a light, lacy touch of warmth.

Here is the Capelet version, which has crocheted roses at the closure. It is much more popular with the younger set.
It is always a relief to get a design out the door. But I am always ready to get started on the next project. After the pineapple doilies, I want to do a set of vintage look thread potholders.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How to be a Crochet Designer: Designing Your Own Wash or Dish Cloth

Okay, now for the fun part! The first things I designed were baby blankets and afghans. I never had any of these designs published, and I never bothered to write patterns for them, but I loved making them, and everyone I gave them to appreciated the fact that they were original, one of a kind designs, made especially for them. I believe that anyone who has a good working knowledge of crochet can create their own designs, too.

The easiest items to design are either square or rectangular in shape. This does not have to be limiting; just think of the possibilities of these two simple shapes! In addition to afghans and baby blankets, you can make table runners, placemats, dishcloths, hot pads, pot holders, coasters. rugs, shawls, scarves, lapghans, curtains, even full size bedspreads or tableclothes if you want. Some designers make clothing by joining rectangles together to form the sleeves, back and fronts of a garment. By folding squares or sewing two or more together you can form purses, bags, slippers and hats. I know of at least two designers who had fairly successful careers back in the early 90's by simply making afghans from stitch patterns found in the Harmony stitch guides. Sometimes they added a simple border, most times they did not.

Today, we are going to make a washcloth. Maybe two or three. They are quick and easy to make, pretty, and they make great gifts. You will need a ball of worsted weight cotton yarn in a color you love, and a crochet hook in the appropriate size (I am going to use a H hook.) You will also need to know how to make a favorite stitch pattern, or a book of crochet stitches, such as one of the Harmony guides. For this project, we want a pattern that repeats in as few rows as possible; look for one that says "repeat row 2 for desired length" or something like that. The more rows you have to repeat for the pattern, the more complicated it will be, and that is not what we want today. I am going to use a slanted shell stitch for my washcloth. It has a pretty texture, cool scalloped edges (especially if you use an eyelet chain-free foundation, but we will save that for another day) and is super easy to memorize. A pattern for this stitch would read:

Row 1: Ch a multiple of 3 plus 4, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in fourth ch from hook, *skip next 2 chs, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in next ch; repeat from * across, turn.

Row 2: Ch 3, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in each ch-2 sp across, turn.

Repeat Row 2 for desired length.

Now, decide how wide you want your washcloth to be. I think 8" square is a good size. So I make a chain about 12" long, because I know when I work the stitches it will draw up some. I am not going to worry if I have any chains left over. If I do, I will just cut them off.

If you want to write a pattern for your design (so you can make multiple identical items, or so you can share your design with friends), you can either figure out how many chains you will need based on the number of chains needed for each repeat of the pattern times how many repeats you use. Or, you can just count the number of chains you use to make your starting chain, then subtract the number you have left over after working the first row. Say you chain 100 to make a chain 10" long, and after you finish the first row you have 18 chains left over. That means you needed 82 chains to start your washcloth.

To cut away the excess chain, leave the 4 chains closest to the washcloth, and cut away the rest. Now carefully unravel the remaining 4 chains, and hide the end as you normally do.
It took me a little over an hour to make this washcloth. Small items like this are perfect for learning new stitches, and deciding if you like working with them before committing to a larger item.
There you have it; the basic idea is the same no matter what you are making. Experiment with your favorite stitches; you will find that some work better for certain items than others.
If you have finished your washcloth, congratulations, you are a designer! Happy crocheting!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to Become a Crochet Designer: Part One

I can't tell you how many times I have been asked "How do you become a crochet designer?", especially when I was working for DRG publishing. That is a difficult question to answer, because it depends on several things.

First of all, do you want to do it for the money? There are many people who think they can get rich quick selling their designs. In my experience, this just does not happen. It is very difficult to make a living wage selling crochet designs, and I know only a few designers (three, actually) who are actually able to do so. And each of them has been designing for more than 20 years. Even very well known designers usually have a "day job"; or else do not depend on the income from their designs (they have someone else paying the bills).

Many publishers have scaled back the number of crochet books and magazines they put out each year, so it is harder than ever to get something accepted for publication. You have to have a thick skin (which I do not), because you are probably going to have your designs or ideas rejected at some point. I have been designing a long time, and I still get rejected. And when I do, it still stings.

Another thing to consider is the amount of time you are willing to devote to actually crocheting. You have to turn out new designs consistently to be successful; in my case this means crocheting at least 8 hours every day, usually 6 days a week; more if I have deadline to meet. And this goes on year after year. Burnout has been the end of many a budding designer's career.

I am sorry to sound so negative, but I have met so many people who truly (in my opinion, anyway) have unrealistic dreams of becoming a professional designer. I don't want to crush any one's dreams, but I think everyone should be aware of the pitfalls.

But there are many other reasons to become a crochet designer that do not involve being published. There is nothing more precious than a hand crocheted baby blanket, unless it is a hand crocheted baby blanket that has been designed especially for the recipient. While I cannot in good conscience encourage anyone to be come a designer for money or fame, I can, and do, encourage every crocheter to stretch their creativity and create their own, original works of art.

There are a few basic formulas and techniques that make it possible to quickly, and rather painlessly create beautiful, unique and personal designs, and I will talk about some of them in the next post. Happy crocheting!