Tag Archives: Crochet Patterns

PHM…what to do?

I have heard your cry! I have your pleas! Some of you are crying boredom, some information overload, some of you still have Post Holiday Crochet Injuries (PHCI) and even worse, the Post Holiday Malaise (PHM). What to do? What to do!?

Here are a few tips that may help in any of the above cases!

Boredom

  • Everything seems same old, same old? Not likely if you’ve just come to the joys of the crochet world, but if you are a veteran, this happens. You get into a groove, and designers get into a groove and well…it can seem that your options are sparse. Here’s a quick tip for overcoming this feeling of crochet ennui without having to put down your hooks!

                * Doodle with yarn. You have stash! You know you do, lots of bits and pieces of fuzzy goodness that are muffled in some tote, bag or box waiting to be played with by your hands and hook! Take them out of confinement and allow your creativity to play! Swatch, doodle, play with hook sizes and stitches. You could call it “scrumbling” as the free formers do, but you could just play and rip, play and rip…cleanse your palette of the same ol’ same ol’! Try something new, learn a new technique…allow your mind to wander creatively.

Information Overload

  • So many patterns, so little time, 200 wips waiting to be finished, but you want more. You are overwhelmed, you don’t know what to do next. Here’s what you are going to do!!

                    * STOP! Stop looking up what other people are crocheting, take out a small wip and finish it or frog it. Then do another one, and another. Get a few projects finished. Those online pattern searches can wait. Dreaming and wishing is a good thing but it doesn’t get your crochet done.

Post Holiday Crochet Injuries

  • Woah Nelly! This isn’t good! Crochet is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable! Did you out crochet your capacity? Andee Graves (Mama2Hands on Ravelry) is a health writer and retired Licensed Massage Therapist, counseled us at the retreat  to LYB: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!

                     *If you have any pain in your joints, you need to stop, drink water and stretch. You may want to put the hooks down for a little while, and contemplate what hand or wrist movements cause you pain. You may need to change your grip, or get an ergonomic set of handles. You may need to get a massage and tell them you need your neck, back, hands and arms worked on. This is serious! You do not want injuries to cease your ability to crochet!   If you have any kind of numbness or pain get this checked out by a medical practitioner!

Post Holiday Malaise

  • So you aren’t bored, you aren’t injured, you crocheted like a mad fiend all year, and the holidays came and went. It isn’t even like your gifts were appreciated, people may have adored them…so why the let down? Well maybe it’s not the crochet at all, maybe it’s the anti-climax of the holiday season coming to the end…Like the song, “Now the parties over…” Maybe it’s like the baby blues, and when you create a lot of things…that’s alot of babies…here’s what I like to do.

                   * Take a break for a few days. Set the hook down, and do something else. Get outside if the weather allows, go for a walk, or go shopping, buy some new yarn, or hooks, or non crochet related things even! Then, after a few days, start a project for YOU. Yes, that’s right, you’ve been making things for others for so long, that maybe, just maybe you need to take care of you and make yourself a present! Did some very thoughtful relative or friend buy you yarn? Or give a gift card? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, or have that you haven’t done yet? Well, why not start now!

Remember, we crochet because we love it…but as in all relationships sometimes things need to be approached from a fresh angle, sometimes we need a change and sometimes we need a break.

But before this blog post ends….I want to inspire you further!

First of all, I’m working diligently on producing our 2011 year in review video! It shall be entertaining and informative I promise!  Secondly, and drum roll please…Get ready for 2011!

The CLF is going places, in a big way! Are you ready for it? Are you ready to see us really become all that we can be? I’m working hard behind the scenes with a fabulously tech savvy Fairy Godmother to transform us into a “Real Boy”. That’s right, no longer shall we be a talking wooden puppet…but in the flesh and in your face! Ok..well, we’ve always been in your face… but that’s besides the point. Stay tuned!!

And don’t forget to take a look at the CLF First Ever Book, available in hard copy or pdf version! Special rates still apply! You know you want it!

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At what price?

Since I started the CLF blog I have written many a post about value and crochet. That we must not ask for comparison to find crochet to be of value, that we must accept that what we do takes skill, time and practice, and that what we make does have an intrinsic value, one that can indeed be reflected in a price tag.

With Holiday Bazaar Season (HBS) upon us, many a crochet enthusiast will take to the holiday bazaars of local churches, community groups, and big shows. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS FUZZY DO NOT…and I repeat…DO NOT UNDERSELL YOUR WORK!!

Recently I posted a simple equation on the CLF Facebook page that read: Materials + Time x Skill = $$

Let me repeat that in big bold print…

In case you didn’t hear me the first few times…let me repeat this again…

So here are some general rules to follow:

1) Remember what you pay for materials. If you buy a skein of yarn for $6.00 and it has 200yds, the item you make uses 100 yards, the material cost is $3.00. If you took 2hrs to make a  hat and you sell it for $4.00 you are NOT making a profit. $3.00 recoups the material. Make sure you RECOUP your materials.

2)Time is valuable. Especially in today’s fast paced world, time is PRECIOUS, your time is VALUABLE. If you spend 2hrs on a  hat and you spent $3 on the materials and you only charge $4.00, $3.00 covers the materials and you just made FIFTY CENTS an hour. Really?  You are not a SWEATSHOP…You are WORTH more than that… So, you’ll mostly likely never charge for your time what you are REALLY worth, but hey at least go for $5.00 an hour, it’s better than .50 cents. So we’re now up to $13 for the hat.

3) SKILL…what you do is a SKILL. I don’t care if you just learned or if you have done this all your life. I don’t want to hear that you aren’t an expert, I don’t want to hear, “Oh it’s just what I do…” Yes, you do it, and yes it takes skill, and if you are really good at it, and you know it, then BY GUM CHARGE FOR IT!!!  So the same hat, done in crochet cables or basket weave, that takes skill right? We have established the minimum charge on time is $5.00 an hour, you with me? And so let’s go back to the $13, obviously too cheap for the cabled hat right? I’d add on another $10-20 in a lower market, in an upper scale market I’d add up to $30.

What about a plain hdc hat? Heck I’d still charge $15-20 for it 😀

BUT WHO WOULD BUY ANYTHING THAT EXPENSIVE.

Go to a department store, look at the crappily made hats and see what they sell for…$25. Not even cabled or basket weave, not even hand made, handmade goes for the same price, and made in a sweatshop.

So have a sign, that shows a) you are LOCAL b) you make it yourself c) put a picture of your children or dogs or cats and say all proceeds feed these guys (yes, use humor)…

When I first started selling at bazaars I sold myself short too, and guess what? I hardly sold a thing…my skill level? It was the same as it is now…So, what changed? I started to charge more. Then I got custom orders and students.

So here’s a refresher…

Items that really can sell at bazaars include:

  • Rosette pins (make Irish Crocheted Roses and affix to safety pins or jewelry pins) sell for $5-10 a pin.
  • Wash cloths and tea towels, sell by the set of 2 for $5-8
  • Hats/Scarf Set. What really worked for me was selling the set for $25 and the hat/scarf separate for $18 ea. (OOOOh they saved money).
  • Wrist warmers and cuffs
  • Fingerless gloves
  • ORNAMENTS
  • Wine Bottle covers
  • Dolls/toys
  • Baby things

Use good, washable materials for garments, hats etc…

Trust me this just might work…

Oh and before you go check out this holiday idea!!

These are too cute!  Christmas Lights Dishcloth & Potholders!! By Linda Bohrn…. Sadly the pattern link goes to a website with malware. I have contacted the designer via Ravelry to inform her.

Post Retreat and here come the holidays!

Well, I was a little wiped out after the retreat. I had intended to finish up my work on the CLF Website, and send off emails, and blog, but those intentions got lost in a puddle of drool last week. I’m now up and running and drool free, and ready to catch up on my errant holiday crocheting!

As we enter into the frenetic and often budget tight holiday season, I hope to post a variet of quick and easy projects that I spy on the “inter-web” as well as offering you a place to send your significant other or family members to see what you might want in the way of gifts!!

Today’s pick: These adorable Cat and Puppy Stockings! By Maggie Weldon, you can purchase her pattern via the link  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/maggies-crochet-pa829-cat-n-mouse-and-puppy-love-stockings.

For the cat and dog lovers out there, and for those with grand-cats and grand-dogs I think these are too cute, and our furry friends will appreciate them if filled with yummy treaty goodness!

Stay tuned for more holiday crochet ideas, right here! Oh and just in case you haven’t got your copy of the CLF First Ever Book, remember you can now buy it as a pdf download as well as a hard copy from the CLF Website!

Picot Freeing Beret!

  

Originally uploaded by mortaine
 

Ok, this blog post is combining two goals in one! YAY… 

First of all, I want to say that my 3rd issue of Handknit Heros arrived in the mail and I’m thrilled to see it! CLF Member Mortaine is the owner and evil genius behind the hip and edgy comic. Crochet aficionados fear not the name “Handknit” one of the superheros in this comic is indeed a hookster like us! 

My kids (teens) adore the comic, and the patterns are well written for both knit and crochet. Yes, that’s right I can read the knitting patterns even if I can’t knit. I really like the diagrams in the last issue, they are well done. 

This leads me to the Set My Picot Free award, which goes to none other than Mortaine! CLF Member extraordinaire, a true handworking super hero. I urge you to look at her projects page on ravelry because she does it all! I particularly love this hat, but also her tatting efforts (gorgeous!). 

Mortaine, (aka Stephanie), you Set All our Picot Free with this cute and fun beret/tam. Love it! 

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!

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.

We bid (Inter) National Crochet Month Au Revoir…

But, not adieu!  March has come and gone oh so quickly! (Inter)Natcromo has been a wild and wooly time on the CLF message board, on Ravelry for the Crochet Party, and the tweets have been fabulous! (You can follow the CLF on Twitter, CrochetLibFront )

I know many of us were inspired to crochet more, or expand our crochet skills. I found myself crocheting at break neck speed, I’ve done three blankets, some unique squares for the local LYS, and a baby hat, currently I am having an adventure with plarn. Yes, plarn. I’m making easter baskets out of the billions of shopping bags I have at home, that I am so sick of stuffing into drawers, even when I remember to reuse them as shopping bags they multiply. I’ve invented a fun little design to make my very eco-conscious teens some pretty cool baskets out of this plarn, and that is my contribution to Natcromo.

I’ll feature the free form stylings that the partiers on Ravelry.com have been hard at hooking through out the month of March. If you missed out on the party, never fear they have the instructions for the Free Form Game up for posterity, give it a try!! It’s so much fun.

The Flamies went exceedingly well, with 30% more voting than last year! Amazing, thousands of votes!! Thank you for participating, and thanks to the nominees for their gracious participation! I look forward to announcing the winners on Getting Loopy on April 19th, 2010!

What did you do for Natcromo? Did you learn a new crochet skill? Did you crank out the gifts? Are you ready for Christmas already? Never mind, don’t answer that, I don’t know that I’m quite ready to hear from folks that organized!