Monthly Archives: April 2010

Market Watch: Crochet Book Sales

That was quite a discussion we had in this post, when I asked you, the crocheters to explain what makes you buy or not buy books.

Your comments were about what I expected to hear. Beyond not being able to afford books, what I heard was the following:

1) Cannot find them at bookstores, yarn stores etc.

2) Tired of the same kinds of books (Ala “One more book about granny squares”)

3) Tired of the beginning material rehashed over and over.

 So, part of it is: We can not find the books. Often by the time we have heard about a book it’s out of print, after a short print run. The internet has certainly helped matters with Amazon.com being a go to for our publishing needs. But, still we prefer to look through the books, unless it is by a designer/company we know that creates patterns/designs/works with techniques that we can trust.

So, publishers here’s the rub, if you are advertising in print media that we do not read, aka knitting magazines (not that knitting mags are bad, but many crocheters do not buy them any more than they buy wood turning magazines if they don’t wood turn.) then we will not find out about them. If you advertise in a crochet magazine, or the book is reviewed in the magazine or on line then you have a better chance of us knowing about it, and buying it.

Yarn stores: If you do carry a book, stock up on technique books. Stitch dictionaries, motif dictionaries and construction orientated books are great buys for the crocheter. It is very true that crochet’s history is not one of pattern devotees. It isn’t that we are reengineering, its that we often prefer pictures due to the fact that many very proficient crocheters are not proficient pattern readers. So, for those who want to expand their skills a good stitch or motif dictionary is a great way to feed our crochet addiction.

I know I bought pattern books, long before I read patterns; but they had to have a few things in them before I would make my purchase:

a) Not just good, but excellent photography. Not from an artistic standpoint,but from a clarity standpoint. I needed to see the stitches and as much as the garment/item in question.

b) Lots of diagrams or schematics. Dimension are very important when making things, I want schematics.

c) Something upbeat and relevant to the time of life I was in, which has nothing to do with the publisher but had everything to do with me personally. When I had young children that’s what I wanted, patterns for young children, I made some things fo rmyself, but most of what I made was for them. Now that they are older I’m looking for trendy adult sized patterns, but there are young people in my life now having their own babies and I am making a ton of gifts! So, back to baby things we go.

d) Don’t stereotype your audience. Crocheters make a variety of things in a variety of yarns.

I would say over all, the biggest problem is getting the word out about books and where they are sold, where we can buy them, where we can see, touch, and emmerse ourselves in them.

Advertise to us, and you’ll see a rise in sales. I think since there are 10x’s (if not more) the publications for knitting, and outlets for knitters that you see the sales of crochet books askew from the reality. Of course the books with stick techniques will out sell the crochet books, you are marketing those other books in more venues to a bigger audience.

It’s a numbers game, think about it! So, how to get to us? Well, I always encourge authors/designers to self promote on the CLF message board. We WANT to know what’s new, who’s doing what and where we can buy things! Use your facebook and twitter accounts, and if you want me to review a book, just ask, I love reading books and giving thoughtful reviews!!

Here are some favorites from CLF Members:

Teach Yourself Visually: Crochet by Kim P. Werker and Cecily Keim

Lily Chin’s Crochet Tips, Hints & Tricks: Shortcuts and Techniques Every Crochet Should Know  by Lily Chin

The Crochet Answer Book by Edie Eckman

Beyond the Square by Edie Eckman

Blueprint Crochet: Modern Designs for the Visual Crocheter by Robyn Chachula

Everyday Crochet: Wearable Designs Just for You by Doris Chan

Plus Size Crochet: Fashions That Fit & Flatter by Margaret Hubert

Crocheting For Dummies by Karen Manthey, Susan Brittain, and Julie Holetz

The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet: *All You Need to Know to Crochet *The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters *Comprehensive Guide to … 200 Stitch Patterns (Complete Photo Guides) by Margaret Hubert

Design It Yourself Afghans w/CD (Leisure Arts #4750) – Paperback (June 1, 2009) by Mary Beth Temple and Leisure Arts

Creating Crochet Fabric: Experimenting with Hook, Yarn & Stitch by Dora Ohrenstein

The Harmony Guides: Basic Crochet Stitches: 250 Stitches to Crochet by Erika Knight

The Crochet Dude’s Designs for Guys: 30 Projects Men Will Love by Drew Emborsky

Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the Ease of Crocheting by Sharon Hernes Silverman,

Learn to Do Tunisian Stitches: With Interactive DVD by Kim Guzman

Crochet Lace Innovations: 20 Dazzling Designs in Broomstick, Hairpin, Tunisian, and Exploded Lace by Doris Chan

Now this is not a complete list, or even a partial list of all the crochet books to be had out there, these are ones I know, have or have been suggested on the CLF message board! There are many more, you can do a quick search on amazon.com, or through our message board on Ravelry.com to see many more suggestions.

So, I’ve given my advice to the publishers, now to the crocheters, if you see a book you like, get it when you can, because we really do go out of print quickly. Until the industry realizes that we are an independant market we won’t jump sales high. We’re working on spreading the word, why? Is it because I like giving free promotions? Hell no! It’s because I want the materials too! If I can not find them, or they are not published I will not have them. I’m a book collector’s book collector, I wants me crochet books, and I wants them now!

The Challenge: Sales of Crochet Books.

Dear CLF members, we have a chicken and the egg scenario in front of us. We, the crochet public ask the question, “Why aren’t there as many crochet books as knitting books?” and the industry says, “Well, we publish them but they don’t sell as well, so we don’t want to publish them.”

How is this chicken and the egg? Well, first of all if they don’t publish them we can’t buy them, and if we don’t buy the books they won’t publish them. Nice cycle, eh?

So, I ask you the crocheting public, why don’t you buy the crochet books? I realise that times are hard, but times have been hard for a decade for many (regardless of what the talking heads have to say about it), and I know many of my cohorts are like myself and buy any crochet book they can get their hands on. So, BESIDES you can’t afford it, why else do you not buy books? Conversely, if you are like me and sitting there shaking your head thinking, ‘But I DO buy books”, do you have a hard time finding out about the books?

See I know I’ve had that problem, I have to scour the internet (and finally having the CLF is great because we talk shop all day every day and we find out about books, magazines, websites etc), in order to find out what new or old materials I’m lacking in my crochet library.

I have my own theories about why we may buy less books and I’ll write about those later. But, I want to ask you to tell me, what’s the deal? Why don’t you buy them (again not the can’t afford argument because that’s a no brainer)? Or if you want to but can’t find them, let me know too.

Leave your comments, because I want to see what people have to say. Again, I have my own theories on the subject and I will post about those in a few days.

The Complete List of Winners: The Flamies

Ok, I know I KNOW you were clamoring for the list, and the winners are CLAMORING for their awards. Tuesday was a really long day and well…YAY the list is here now!

I decided to make an Annual Crochet Award section on the CLF Website, so please go HERE to find the complete list of winners. I will have a list made for last year too, and in future you can check on the Crochet Liberation Front Website for lists of nominees and winners as we move this award into a more “real” state.

I have to apologize, once again a light hearted jaunt has turned into something apparently quite real and recognized. I’m often the last to figure that out, but luckily good friends are happy to remind me to get my act together and take it seriously!

Winners I will be contacting you with the link to your graphics for your websites etc tomorrow!

Once again a huge thank you to Mary Beth Temple of Getting Loopy, Darlisa Riggs of Crochet Uncut, all of the listeners and lastly but certainly not least, the winners of the awards for showing up full of enthusiasm and grace. It was a wonderful show, and if you didn’t get a chance to tune in you can download the episode from the Getting Loopy site or iTunes!

2nd Annual Crochet Awards Tonight!!

The day has come! The Flamies are here! The Flamies are here! I can now unveil the award and what it looks like!! I’m sooooo excited! 

Huge thanks to the talented Darlisa Riggs for her graphic arts contribution!

 

 Tune into the Getting Loopy Podcast with Mary Beth Temple, our beloved Josh McKiernan (who knows what antics he’ll help provide on the show) and myself Laurie Wheeler as we award the crochet public’s favorites for design, patterns, books, hooks, yarn and more! Don’t miss out, and you’ll find out who I’ve awarded the Fearless Leader Award and who won the Flaming Hook of Justice award!!

So don’t forget, TONIGHT at 9-11 Eastern/6-9pm Pacific the 2010 Crochet Awards are LIVE on Getting Loopy!!

Huge thanks to Darlisa Riggs of Crochet Uncut for her most beautiful 3-D design work on the Flamie Award this year! It’s gorgeous!

A crocheter’s crochet book! Review

So, earlier today I tweeted that I had found nothing to blog about; a rare event indeed! Upon returning home from the Tuesday library trip, I found this wonderful package awaiting me on the kitchen counter. Oh yes, the book I have eagerly awaited ever since I saw the early advertisement in the Yarn Market News sometime in Dec/Jan. The book?  Doris Chan’s Crochet Lace Innovations, 20 Dazzling Designs in Broomstick, Hairpin, Tunisian and Exploded Lace.

Doris Chan has produced a masterful guide to working with broomstick, hairpin lace and of course her wonderful exploded lace technique. Let me have you walk through my review ritual, because yes, I have one even if it is just a personal review for my own use.

First I pick up the book and feel it, I stare at the cover taking in the jacket design, and flip over the back to read reviews (if any), and peruse the back cover. Next, I flip through the book in fits and starts, scanning photos, and looking for anything that just immediately grabs my attention (for good or ill). Then, I put the book down, do dishes, or laundry or some other chore, maybe even weed in the garden. I ruminate on the cursory scan I did on the book, and let what designs caught my attention dominate my thoughts. Once the rumination is complete, which can be as little as twenty minutes or as much as an hour, I make a cup of tea and settle down in a favorite spot and begin reading the book. 

Let me tell you this, I didn’t ponder long on this book before I was itching to sit in my favorite spot and pour through the  pages.  Now, truth be told I’m not a lace wearer, but I am a lace maker. I love making lace, and even though for me personally it’s not a great part of my wardrobe, I love making it for people who do love to wear it.  And here is the revelation about this book, there is more than one project in this book that I would make for me to wear and most likely will!

Now to the guts of the review:

Doris had me at “Hello.” I always make an effort to read an author’s introduction, for me it’s vitally important to understanding the purpose of the book. This is the one place in the book, especially in non-fiction, where an author is at their leisure, allowing their philosophy to infuse the experience of the content driven material. I’ve met Doris, I know she is a woman of amazing skill and motivation, I wanted to read what she had to say, and what she says in the introduction made me smile quietly, nod my head and say a mental thank you. I don’t want to ruin your experience by spoiling, I’m just saying after you get done flipping through the beautifully photographed book, make sure you take time to sit down with your beverage of choice and read the prose she composed; it’s more than worth the read.

Even if you do not make lace, get the book. There is invaluable information on the techniques listed in the title, as well as very important information on construction of garments. Even if you have yet to venture further from belts and scarves, you will want this book, after all it has a little of both. Not to mention some gorgeous clothing and low and behold templates for making garments. Yes, you heard me templates!

Whether you are just beginning your forray in crochet or you are an old hand, this book is a treasure. I know that’s trite, but in this case it’s true. This one goes into the hallowed space of my much used books, right next to my highly prized 1962 McCall’s Needlework Magazine (July), and my 1st Edition of The Harmony Guide to Crochet, Vol I. For those of you in the know, that’s a very hallowed place indeed.

Ever the crochet champion I salute Doris Chan, who also champions crochet at ever turn. And did I mention you can expect expertly written and detailed patterns, great illustrations, and marvelously crafted directions? No, I guess I didn’t, well expect them.

2010 Crochet Awards: The perks of being Fearless Leader

I’m getting so excited; The Flamies are coming! The Flamies are coming! It’s funny some people have interpreted Flamies to mean we’re putting down crochet, and have missed out on the fact that the standard of the CLF for all members to bear, is the Flaming Hook of Justice! The awards are named after our beloved Flaming Hook.

One of the best perks of being FL is the fact that I get to know who won in advance, AND I get to see the wonderful award graphics as they are being made by 3-D graphic artist Darlisa Riggs (publisher and editor of Crochet Uncut). OMG they are so awesome this year, a completely different design to last year, and if I could afford to have the trophies made for real I so would! Beautiful rendering by a very very talented woman, I can not wait until they get unveiled! Darlisa has requested we keep it hush hush until she gives the nod, so this is all I can say right now. What I will say though, is the winners should just be thrilled to have them, beause they are gorgeous!

Thank you Darlisa! Check out Darlisa’s work, her art website is linked in the top right hand corner of the blog! Please honor her talents by checking out her detailed and creative work! 

Don’t forget to tune into to Getting Loopy for the 2010 Crochet Awards: The Flamies. Monday, April 19 6pm pacific/9 Eastern!

Crochet Lessons: Learning Curves

So, my dear CLFers, you and I have been on this fabulous journey together for over 2 1/2 years! Isn’t it amazing? And I have a confession to make, I haven’t been following my own advice.

That’s right, Fearless Leader, has not been taking the medicine she has been so liberally prescribing! (Though I never really claim to be Fearless, since I’m anxiety prone, that would by lying…) I have to say in the two and a half years we’ve been around, the one person who hasn’t taken me seriously is me. To be honest, it kind of freaks me out when I find out people do take me seriously, or listen to what I have to say, or even simply agree with my uppity notions.

So, this week I really took stock of myself, my dreams, aspirations, what I want out of life, looked at where I am going, want to go, wish to do, and since I was sick, I was pretty uninterrupted. I couldn’t use the phone much cause I could barely speak, I didn’t feel like being on-line (a real testament to having a bad cold since I never go this long without checking email or Facebook). I cared that I could get up to make soup, I couldn’t even crochet. I could think. I thought a lot, you don’t need to know what those thoughts were perse, but rest assured there were realizations. By Thursday last week, I was able to get up to make my own soup, and knew I could teach my Friday morning Beginning Crochet Class. It wore me out, but I knew it was important to teach this student whom I’d never met…Don’t ask me how I knew, let’s just call it intuition.

During this class, my student apologized for her lack of skills no less than 100 times. She was taking the BEGINNING CROCHET CLASS. She was neither visual or audial as a primary learning style, but rather kinesthetic, she apologized for not getting the information.  I found ways to impart the information, and she apologized.

She refused to acknowledge when I really complemented her genuinely on her work. She has a natural talent for crochet, very even tension, and a very nice hand. So she couldn’t remember the stitch names, so she was having trouble remembering yo, insert hook into stitch, three loops on hook, yo draw yarn through 3 loops on hook (a half double crochet)…So, I made a noise pattern that didn’t require thinking about words…and I had her write down the individual steps…she appologized.

Eventually, I got her to stop apologizing by saying in a very tired and worn out voice after she compared herself to me, ” {Insert Name Here}, I have been crocheting longer than I can remember. I have crocheted everyday for the past 17 years, and I do this for hire. I am my own sweatshop. You are learning and beginning, you are perfectly attuned to your skill set now. Make what I do your goal, but not your measuring stick.”

The minute I said that, she got the stitch she was having trouble learning and we moved on to the next one. We went a 1/2 hr over the class time (which I didn’t mind since she had struggled through the first bit), and she insisted on paying me for the time, which felt weird ;). Most people do not offer to pay me extra, in fact some don’t want to pay for a beginning lesson at all…which good lord, let me tell you beginning crochet is the hardest thing to teach!. I was so moved by her willingness to compensate me for my time, and that she wants more classes, and that when she was leaving she said, “I feel really ready to tackle that project now!” (The washcloth that is the class project)

That statement I made stayed with me, not because I had felt rude, or mean because I hadn’t been either of those things when I said the words.  What shocked me most was the fact that really until that moment I had never really believed those things of me, that I am an expert, that I am a knowledge base waiting to be tapped, that I am a highly skilled person; until then, I really hadn’t thought of myself that way.  I knew each piece of information to be a fact, but BELIEF is different than FACT.  Belief is like inspiration or imagination it’s where the best of what is human germinates and fosters creativity. Facts just are.  But to BELIEVE in FACTS now that’s taking our left and right hands, clasping them together and creating a dual hemispheric connection in our BRAIN…and that’s TRANSFORMATIVE!

Sure I’ve written convincing arguments that people need to feel that way, and see what they do as valuable. But, I swear I’ve been writing it to convince myself. So I ask you, do any of us really see ourselves as valuable, talented people? Do any of us? Do any of us really feel like that expert? If you do, AWESOME! But, how many of us, apologize when are tension is even? How many people apologize for not “getting it” “fast enough?”  How many people expect instant perfection in something that is never perfect-able?  In an ever evolving world, perfection= limitations.

So, join with me people in this fabulous year of 2010, let us dedicate ourselves to stop the”I’m sorry”, and not be sorry. Let’s be content with where we are, and goal orientated to where we want to go…In our crochet, and in the rest of our lives.

BELIEVE in the FACTS of YOU…not the fantasies (both positive and negative), not what people say about you or have said about you…But what you KNOW to be TRUE about you…You are the expert, how so?

I love that I come to epiphanies through crochet. It may be, because crochet is so non-threatening that some of my greatest self discoveries come through my contact with people, or patterns, or stitches. How about you?