Tag Archives: patterns

Avante Garde Crochet…Shake it up

Hooksters, Crochet Aficionados, Yarn Lovers…Lend me your ears or eyes as the case may be…

A wonderful member of the CLF has made a very important point on the CLF Message Board on Ravlery. There seems to be a rut in design happening. Now let’s not blame the designers over much, but we have to acknowledge that because of poor wages a designer has to crank out multiple designs at lightning speed to make any kind of earnings at all. This is not grand for creative expression, and it is a sad fact of our crochet industrial world.

On the other hand, publications are not willing to be daring and risky in the designs they publish, and back to what they are willing to pay for something HOOKALICIOUS: Not much. They are also afraid of innovation, because what worked last decade must work in this one, right? WRONG. Sad really.

One of the issues we’re facing, and not to discourage budding new designers in the least, is the amount of people with stars in their eyes to be published as a designer and they put up a rather simple double crochet (dc) or single crochet (sc) scarf or hat into the pattern upload, for free or not for free and flood the pattern searches with things that, may or may not be attractive, but aren’t innovative. Now, again I do NOT want to discourage our budding designers however I do want to encourage you, the budding new designer, to stretch your wings and do something EDGY, do something exciting, do something daring if you are going to publish. After all, we all want to be published out of some kind of desire…the desire to be known, to share our knowledge, to share our creativity, to be seen, to show off our skills and creative abilities. Find your motivation and then DARE!

Dare to be creative, avant-garde, out of the box, create fabulousness…and then…wait for it…wait for it!

                                       CHARGE FOR IT!

The internet is FLOODED with free content, some of it is great, some of it is rubbish, and some of it is just ok. I have seen free patterns that are DIVINE and frankly should NOT be free! If you want to design, that is an occupation that is worthy of compensation, if you aren’t prepared for success, then make a plan and get ready and go for it!

Crochet needs designer leaders, and we have some of those for certain! But you too could be a leader in design…you could be more, design more, and create more…we can all benefit from more creativity…from diversity…from something out of the box!

So, promise me this in 2011, GET OUT OF THE CROCHET BOX and FLY!!!

And this is why we love it…

Pre-Winter Crochet Week is at it’s mid-way point…I have to say it’s been so much fun on the CLF message board on Ravelry.com, and on our facebook page.

It seems I have a new local group, my best friend (who can crochet, but prefers I make the hats…sigh…”you’re quicker” she says…but at least she handspins lovely yarns and I get to play with soft and yummy goodness) and another friend who fell in love with Amigurumi and wanted to learn. We’ve decided this shall happen every tuesday at my best friend’s house (she is the famous pair of feet in my Bestest Friend/Loopy Lou sock pattern only $.50 for a download, special CLF Savings 😀 I am going to raise the price back to $4.00 after the holidays!). I have to say that this gal who’s initials really are CLF (It’s fate I tell you), is the BEST novice crochet student I have ever had. In our first lesson we went from chaining straight up to single crochets and shaping! She made the body of her piggy the first lesson, tonight? We made the snout, legs, ears and curly queue tail 😀  I made up the pattern on the fly, and she got it…every step of the way and tonight? She learned to READ the pattern! Talk about gratifying!

 Front view of sir piggy wiggy…no eyes yet, she’s gonna get him all googlified…

      And a rear-view of that cute little tail! This is her very very first ever crochet project!!!   

We’ve had so much fun, and the best part as her guide, has been watching her sense of satisfaction and accomplishment along the road. In her “spare” time, she is a 4-H leader and has a gaggle of pre-teen and teen-aged girls at her heels, she wanted to learn to make critters for them as gifts…too  much fun!

That’s why I love crochet, with a simple tool (though if you ask an anthropologist they will explain the complexities of using a hook versus a straight object) and some long fiberous stuff we can make ANYTHING from beautiful lace to cute pigs and dolls. We’ve had community, laughter, the joy of eating good chocolate and watching someone feel just GREAT about learning something new, and finishing a project…she even wove in her ends. (Much better than her teacher who never bothers unless I have to…isn’t that what kids are for?)

Yes, I will be writing up this and  the other patterns I make up on the spot for my pal CLF, maybe I’ll make a little booklet 😀 They are quick and fun 😀

Hope you are enjoying your Pre-Winter/Pre-Sumer (OR heck Pre-Solstace Seasonal Shift) Week

Don’t forget you can still order the CLF Book hard copy or pdf download from the CLF Website! While you’re there you can check out the new gear 😀

Let the Pre-Winter Crochet Week Begin!

Gwen Blakely Kinser presents Chris Krauss with the CLF Crochet Friendly LYS Certificate!

I can’t think of a better way of kicking off this week than by sharing some fun and great news!!

Gwen Blakely Kinser, known to many as the founder of the Crochet Guild of America or humbly as Crochet Queen on her blog and as “Crochetkween” on Ravelry,honored her local yarn store, with a CLF Crochet Friendly Certificate! High praise indeed for an LYS!

Fuzzy Wuzzy, owned by Chris Krauss, in Arlington Heights, Illinois must be something pretty darned crochet friendly for our beloved Crochet Highness to dub them crochet friendly! If you’re in that neck of the woods, stop by and say hi, pick up some yarn and some hooks and tell them THANKS from the CLF!!

Do you have a favorite LYS, one that is crochet friendly?

What is that? LYS = Local Yarn Store

 What IS crochet friendly?

Well, we’ve come up with a criteria over many discussions:

  • Is inviting to those who use hooks (or not derisive, we’ll take that they are nice to you)
  • Offers supplies for crocheters
  • Sells books/patterns/magazines for crochet lovers
  • Offers crochet classes
  • Encourages crochet

In order to further encourage Local Yarn Stores, which are small local businesses who need local support, we have created a way for we who crochet and spend our hard earned $$ in their store to thank them for believing in the hooks! (Hey who doesn’t like a certificate now and then?) You can download this certificate for free, and present it to your local yarn store! Don’t forget to fill in the name of the yarn store and sign it as a CLF member!! (We suggest printing on photo paper, it’s all shiny and cool looking.)

 In our opinion it’s the perfect gift for the yarn store that has everything this sparkley light-filled  season!

Speaking of lights and sparkle…

If you’ve read my whiny facebook status, you’ll know I’ve been under the weather, yesterday I finally had the energy to put hook and yarn in hand and play a bit. With an H hook and some Jelly yarn I created fun little LED light covers for my LED Christmas Lights… I want to stress they are LED meaning they don’t produce the heat a normal lightbulb does, so PLEASE if you make these little light decorations use them responsibly…

Now here’s the fun part…Any Jelly Yarn will do! I used

Pink Peppermint (Glows in the Dark) Fine

H  Hook (you could use a smaller hook if you want, I play with my tension, so maybe a G is what you’ll have to use…)

It’s easy peasy!

 To begin: Ch 4, join into circle with slip stitch

Rnd 1:  DC 12 into circle

Bind off, weave in ends. 

Do the next one 😀

You can purchase Jelly Yarn from their website! It’s too cool not to try this stuff out 😀

My son thinks they’re really cool, and since he’s 14, he knows cool…

More Bazaar Ideas…

Yes, bazaar, not bizarre but you never know, coming from me it may end up being about both! The Facebook Page is really active, and I completely appreciate everyone’s comments, it really gives me lots of good blogging fodder.

We had an interesting mix of comments from the last blog post which lead me to want to address a few things before diving into some bazaar item ideas 😀

So in the order I am thinking of and not in preference:


1)   $5.00 an hour is pretty cheap for labor. Yeah it is, and I actually do charge more for my own labor than that, but the last post was directed to people who a) haven’t considered charging time and or b) undersell their labor. A step up is a step up.

2) $5.00 an hour is pretty expense, who will buy it? Um…no it’s not expensive. What is the national minimum wage? So you’re telling me that it’s more valuable to work at a burger joint than it is to crochet something? Not saying working at a burger joint is a bad thing at all, just trying to get you to think about it…Do you want fries with that? People buy things they think are valuable.

3) Only other crafters get it…. Yes, that is true, only other crafters really will “GET” how much time it took to make what you make, or the skill involved. But no one really gets how the car engine in their vehicle works unless they are a mechanic, but they still buy cars don’t they? How many people buy jewelry, do you really “get” what it takes to cut a gem well? How about baked goods, a lot of people still buy cakes and cupcakes, I mean some people spend at least $3.00 on a cupcake, I know I can bake a dozen of them for that price, but when I buy a cupcake, I’m paying for the utilities/labor of the store/bakery too…right? Ok, well charge your time. Don’t qualify it, don’t apologise for it, just charge it because you know you’re worth it and voila!

4) What if someone is selling theirs cheaper? No one will buy mine… Not true. I was speaking to a friend of mine who sells crocheted hand towels and dishcloths at holiday bazaars. She was remarking to me how she felt guilty for someone buying her stuff that cost a little more and how people remarked that her stuff was “nicer”. Well ya see? She didn’t think it was nicer than the other persons at the bazaar, but since she charged more, she made more sales. It’s not like she was breaking anyone’s bank either.

5) I don’t want to sell mine I like gifting mine. Cool! You don’t have to sell your work. The post was for those who do want to or do sell their work. Stay posted for posts on holiday gift giving. Gifting is valuable too!

So those are the top five I felt I needed to address from the get go…It’s a matter of value. Think of it this way, do you really value yourself? Do you sell yourself short? I think maybe some of you do, I know I do sometimes. I feel weird about charging for my work, it took a long time for me to feel comfortable asking a fair price, and even though I now gratefully recieve it, I still feel wierd taking the money; I just don’t let it stop me.

Not everyone can do what you do…Seriously, crochet may be easy FOR YOU but it is not easy for everyone else. Some people have zero desire to crochet, they would rather buy something from you. Other people have tried for years and failed (much like me with the sticks, I appreciate the work though, just not good at it), there are those who can but don’t want to do what you are doing and value you that, or there are those who want to learn or are learning but don’t have your skill set. And here’s the real kicker, both you and I could make the same thing, with the same hook, and the same pattern, and the same yarn and guess what? They would be different. They would be unique, why? Because we have different “hands”, we all have a signature to our stitch work 😀

So ‘nough said, if you ARE going to charge for it, charge a decent price… (Because we hurt ourselves when we don’t!)

Ok…We’ve discussed price, now lets talk about merchandising!!

First of all, merchandising for those not in the know, is a key component to doing well in any kind of retail sales. In real terms it’s how you set up your table or booth. It doesn’t take a lot of expensive fixtures to make an attractive display, it does take some thought and a good eye certainly helps.

I learned to merchandise from the display team at Meyer & Franks Department store in Portland, Or when I was in high school. Those guys took me under their wing and I learned lots of fun tips and tricks to making display magic happen!

So for the holiday bazaar here’s some great, simple and affordable things you can do!

1) Make sure the table is covered fully, with a cloth that drapes to the floor. No one wants to see your feet under the table, or your bags, boxes etc. (Some bazaars and shows include table draping)… You can use white, or black, or blue, try to avoid neon colors. Off white is my personal favorite, often there are fluorescent lights and real white doesn’t do well in that kind of lighting.

2) If you are selling garments, hats, scarves and slippers, make sure some are displayed up right. You don’t need mannequin heads, but if you have them SWEET!! If you don’t have them use plastic bags or newspaper/tissue paper to fill them out so people can have a good idea of what they look like. For scarves you can cover pop bottles with fabric, or a pretty canvas bag and drape the scarves around them. Slippers can be stuffed to show how they wear.

3) Have your most affordable items in easy reach, with a sign showing how affordable they are! PINS $5 on a shoebox covered in wrapping paper, holding the pins is a great way to show that off! It draws people to your table!

4) Use 3-D to your advantage. Even if you only have a table space you can make 3-D displays. Use boxes of all sizes to make various heights on your table, you can put them under the cloth for an easy fix, or you can wrap up those shipping boxes you get in pretty wrapping paper and use them to help display!

5) MAKE SURE YOUR PRICES ARE LABELED CLEARLY ON THE ITEMS. People rarely ask how much something costs. If you have a special deal make sure it’s posted well, such as Hats $30 Scarves $20  Hat/Scarf Set Only $40 Remember that’s just a suggestion of a deal not the pricing!

6) You are your biggest display item. WEAR what you make. Wear the hat/scarf set, have the slippers on, or have your helpers wear them. I used to have my kids dress up in my stuff and walk around the room 😀 Make sure you are clean and presentable, that you have your personal items out of the way. Make sure you have someone else to help watch the booth, so you can go eat lunch AWAY from the table, and take potty breaks. Do NOT make it hard to get to your table, and make yourself accessable!! Don’t just sit like a lump and read a book, engage your customers. Ask them how they are doing, if they are having fun, if they have found any cool things at the bazaar, ask if you can be of help, and for the love of all that is fuzzy be working on a cool project so you can answer questions. DO NOT EVER PUT YOURSELF OR YOUR WORK DOWN…DO NOT EVER PUT OTHER VENDORS DOWN…

Now for another cool project for the holiday season that’s rather simple, and can be dressed up in a million ways…Coffee Cup Sleeves/Cozies…

Here’s a cute and simple pattern I found on Ravlery by Jennifer Kaye, and I made sure the link wasn’t malicious!! Here’s where you find the pattern!

Beautiful Crochet! Florine Empire Waist Shell

After a short hiatus, I’m back to blogging the BEST of crochet. From amigurumi to garments, household to accessories, this is how I show YOU the yarn enthusiasts of the world just how fabulous crochet is and can be!

Sharon Silverman pulls out all the stops in this gorgeous shell design!

You can find her pattern here, worked in Tunisian crochet with Louet yarns, this is a perfect example of just how finished and polished crochet can look. You can see more of Sharon’s work on her Facebook page!

Congratulations Sharon, I award you the Set My Picot Free award for stunning and outstanding crochet design!!

The CLF is proud of crochet and the people who wield the hook! Don’t forget to sign up for our Retreat , Crochet @ Cama Oct. 17-21 on Camano Island in WA. I’m reworking the web pages today, so you’ll at least want to check them out! Also, don’t forget that you can order the CLF book as a hard copy or .pdf download from the CLF Website!!

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!

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!

CLF NEWS: 2010 Crochet Awards Nominees for Best Designer Children’s Wear & Accessories

So, I won’t repeat myself this time, I promise. I will say something new! The races have really heated up, there is a tie for the best pattern book (won’t say which books are tied), there is a tie in a designer category, and for best hooks by a corporation my goodness that’s a hot race! (Anyone remember last year? Remember it was separated by one vote? Keep that in mind.), oh and for most Crochet Friendly Yarn Company? Phew, that’s a tight race. So if you have strong opinons on any of those topics make your voice count, make your vote count and vote today or tomorrow or up until March 22, 2010!

One of the things I love most about the Flamie Awards is how they empower not only our designers, which of course was a part of the plan! Yet, one of the best things, is that we the crochet public (which frankly the designers belong to) are able to succinctly say what we like and want in our designs, patterns, and how we are served. Instead of railing against the machine, we are proactively awarding that of which we approve. That my friends is golden!

So without further ado or soap boxing by yours truly, lets get on to the nominees for Best Designer 2009, Children’s Wear (Accessories & Toys as well).

June Gilbank for her collection of amigurumi

Kim Guzman for her collection of children’s wear patterns for various publishers

Alla Koval for her original children’s wear  that she creates for sale

Sandy Powers for her collection of infant and children’s designs

Dee Stanziano for her collection of children’s designs

CLF NEWS:Flamie Nominees Best Designer for Men’s Wear & Accessories

Hi everyone, once again at the risk of sounding like a broken record, WOW the response has been ammmmmaaaaazzzzing!  As ever I want to remind you that any photos shown here are just a single representation of a body of work done by the designer. Please investigate them further! The whole point to the Flamie Awards is to showcase crochet in all it’s greatness, and to help promote the many fine individuals and companies in our industry.

We don’t make money from the Awards,  so if you could please see to visiting our website and checking out either our CLF First Ever Book or our store on Zazzle, even check out our retreat coming to you this October 2010!

Also, and maybe I’ll remember to fix our About Page, our membership has really grown this year! The goal for March 2010 was 5,000 we are about 10 people away from that goal! To join us is free, do so by going to our Ravelry.com group!

The nominees for Best Designer: Men’s Wear & Accessories

Carol Wolf for her sweaters, scarves and men’s accessories 

Drew Emborsky for his sweaters & accessories

Lisa Von Klaveren for her mens accessories

Tracie St. John for her mens vest & accessories

Remember to vote at http://www.surveymonkey.com/2010flamies

New Crochet Edict…Just talk about us.

Ok, back to dating analogies…

So, you’re out with this reallllly cute guy. I mean wow, jaw dropping, drooling, slaveringly handsome, voice to die for, he’s polite, employed, owns his own abode and pays his bills,he’s witty, funny, charming, (guys feel free to insert a female version of this fantasy in here), he even listens when you talk. As you get more comfortable sharing the wonderful triple chocolate and raspberry cheesecake he baked “just for you,” he starts talking about how different you are from his ex. That’s right, I mean she was a bit more flexible, but you’ll do fine, but she was double jointed, but you’ll be ok, and you know, she would rub his shoulders like this, not that you don’t do a good job… Getting a headache yet?

Every time we bring up the other yarn craft that uses hand held implements, we offer the opportunity to compare and contrast, in fact we invite it. So, no more talk about the sticks. If you must discuss crafts other than crochet, heck say you like crochet because it’s so much easier to mimic weaving than in other crafts. Woven fabric is held in much higher esteem in the fashion industry, so heck use that!

What brings on this crazy blog post? Well, ya see… I was reading a trade magazine, and though a few articles about crochet are here or there, NOT ONE of them could just discuss crochet WITHOUT letting the sticks horn in on the action. I mean for heaven’s sakes none of the articles that were purely stick orientated allowed the hook to horn in! And really, shouldn’t the hook get to horn in? After all horns have hooks! (Ok I’m being silly.)

In all seriousness, it made me mad. How on earth can we possibly tell LYSes that we want marketing to us, when the market leaders tell them what’s “hot” and “what’s not”. It’s scary to be a small business owner! You take some pretty calculated risks, and with the “experts”  telling you something is hot and something else is struggling, what the heck are you going to invest in! Even someone who was supposedly advocating for crochet, couldn’t help but mention the sticks…oh COME ON! STOP IT!!!

I am seriously considering a small industry tabloid to go out to stores we know are crochet friendly with indie designers, and book information from publishers etc…I don’t know how I can swing it. But be warned, I’m really thinking about it long and hard.

And no, there will be no compare and contrast…there will only be…LOOK HOW AWESOME CROCHET IS!