Crochetville News

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  1. Here is a sneak peek at the official transcript from Crochetville’s live chat with crochet designers Vashti Braha and Doris Chan that took place on our Facebook page on Friday, January 10, 2014. They joined us for a talk about their wonderful new yarn, Lotus, designed by crocheters with the special needs of crocheters in mind. We had so many questions that I’ve had to divide this blog post up into multiple parts. Links to all the parts can be found at the end of this post. (Note: Text appears as it was entered during the live chat.) We hope you’ll join us on our Facebook page for future chats with more of your favorite crochet designers. To see the full chat transcript, please visit the Crochetville blog: Transcript of Live Chat with Crochet Designers Vashti Braha and Doris Chan, Part 1 of 3 Amy: Okay, my clock says it’s 1:00 PM Eastern, so let’s get started. Welcome to the chat everyone, especially our fabulous guests, crochet designers Vashti Braha and Doris Chan. They’re with us today to talk about their brand-new Lotus yarn, although I’m sure they’ll also answer other questions. To keep us organized, post a ! whenever you have a question. I’ll keep track of the order in which people post, and then call on you in turn. First up is Karen Ballard. Karen, what is your question? Karen: Can Doris/Vashti tell us how Lotus got its name? Vashti: I ship out all the Lotus from my warehouse, and I’m seeing a lot of TEAL and GRENADINE orders!! Doris: Hey! We both are beside ourselves with this new yarn, Lotus. It’s about Vashti’s laid-back view of the world. Zen. OOOHM. Vashti: Hi Karen! OK, well, it has some lovely childhood associations for me, combined with the properties of the yarn itself. The properties being that it has a luster, and the colors are fresh like the lotus scent. Luciucantsayit: OOhhh! More yarn! Vashti: And it has a lovely drape. The lotus flower is just so beautiful. I could go on. Links to Other Parts of Chat Transcript: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 About Vashti Braha Vashti’s name may be familiar to you. Her crochet designs have been published in magazines and books since 2004, including Interweave Crochet, Crochet!, Crochet Today, Knit.1 . . . and have been seen in other popular publications and websites. You can find Vashti on the internet in the following places: Her Designing Vashti website Her blog Her Facebook page Vashti’s Crochet Lounge on Ravelry About Doris Chan Doris Chan is world-renowned for gorgeous, lacy crochet garments featuring top-down seamless construction. Her designs have also been published in Interweave Crochet, Crochet!, Crochet Today, Vogue Knitting, KnitScene, and Crochet World magazines. Many yarn companies have published her designs including Tahki Stacy Charles, Caron International, and Coats & Clark. Doris has also published 4 books of garment patterns with Potter Craft. You can find Doris on the internet in the following places: Her blog Her Doris Chan Crochet group on Ravelry
  2. Here is a sneak peek at the official transcript from Crochetville’s live chat with crochet designer Pam Daley that took place on our Facebook page on Friday, November 2. We had so many questions that I’ve had to divide this blog post up into multiple parts. Links to all the parts can be found at the end of this post. (Note: Text appears as it was entered during the live chat.) We hope you’ll join us on our Facebook page for future chats with more of your favorite crochet designers. To read the full transcript, visit the Crochetville blog: Transcript of Live Chat with Crochet Designer Pam Daley, Part 1 of 4 Crochetville: Let’s give a big welcome to Pam Daley, our special chat guest today. Pam, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today. Pam Daley: I’m excited to be here! Thank you for inviting me. Crafts & Things Pam! Sorry, I missed the first few minutes. Denise: clap clap clap Karen: Hi Pam, do you have any suggestions on how to get started selling things? thank you! Crochetville: Pam, can you tell us a bit about how you got started on Etsy? Denise: yeah, would like to hear your story too^^ Pam Daley: Sure! I opened my first Etsy shop in December 2007; my hubby and I had retired earlier that year and my goal had always been to find a part-time career I could “take on the road” when that day came. I’ve been crocheting since I was a little girl and had recently taken up my hooks again while going through chemo. I had a light bulb moment and realized I wanted to try to turn my love of crocheting into that mobile career. A friend turned me on to Etsy and I opened my first shop – it was called The Crocheted Baby. I had just become a grandmother and my focus was on baby stuff. But as my business grew I found that the name was no longer really accurate, so I decided to change the shop name to Playing with Fiber. At that time Etsy didn’t allow you to change your shop name, so I started over with this new shop in February 2009. Links to Other Parts of Chat Transcript: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 About Pam DaleyPam is a full-time RVer temporarily living in a “stick house” while her hubby recovers from a motorcycle accident he had in August 2012. She has been crocheting forever, and ‘officially’ designing her own patterns since 2007. She has over 80 self-published designs and has recently started offering custom made photo stitch markers for crocheters. Pam is an Associate Professional Member of the Crochet Guild of America and addict of Facebook , Crochetville member, & Ravelry member. You can find Pam’s website at Pam Daley Designs. Her blog is there as well as all of her patterns and stitch markers.
  3. Here is a sneak peek at the official transcript from Crochetville’s live chat with crochet designer Kim Guzman that took place on our Facebook page on Friday, October 25. Questions are in no particular order. We had so many questions that I’ve had to divide this blog post up into multiple parts. Links to all the parts can be found at the end of this post. (Note: Text appears as it was entered during the live chat.) We hope you’ll join us on our Facebook page for future chats with more of your favorite crochet designers. For full transcript, please go to the Crochetville blog: Transcript of Live Chat with Crochet Designer Kim Guzman, Part 1 of 4 Crochetville: Welcome to our live Facebook chat with prolific crochet designer Kim Guzman! Kim, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Everyone, if you have a question or comment for Kim, please write a new post. You’re welcome to comment in any existing post thread as well. Kim Guzman: I’m here for the party. Mary: I would like to know how you got started and if you have any advice for newbies Kim Guzman: I started designing from the time I could crochet. In 1998, I met Brenda Stratton and Carol Lawrence Alexander and they invited me to go to a CHA conference. It was there that I was able to witness the goings on between designer and publisher. I brought some samples with me and had three book deals from that one meeting. I haven’t stopped since. My biggest advice is to be sure to always submit your designs according to the publisher’s instructions and never take it personally when your design is rejected. It happens to all of us, all of the time. Mary: Thank you Margaret: What is CHA? Amy Roberts Shelton: CHA = Craft Hobby Association Brenda Stratton: Carol and I had so much fun watching Kim that day. She was worried the publishers weren’t going to like her designs, and they actually wound up fighting over them…all in good fun, of course! It was hilarious, and heart-warming at the same time. We knew she was going to be a star! DeAnn: …..and began designing when she was 8 years old. Kim’s Mom Kim Guzman: Oh, my mom’s here! Cyndye: LOL…everyone sit up and behave. Links to the Full Chat Transcript:Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 About Kim GuzmanKim Guzman has been designing crochet patterns for over 30 years. She’s had a major online presence since she created her first website in 1998: CrochetKim.com. She’s had designs published in many of the major crochet magazines including Crochet!, Crochet World, and Interweave Crochet. Kim has also had a number of popular leaflets published by Aleene’s Creative Living, Annie’s, and Leisure Arts. You can find her self-published designs on her Kimane Designs website. For more information on all her designs, including a listing of all her published books, please visit her main website. You can also keep up with Kim on Facebook on her crochet designer page.
  4. Here is the official transcript from Crochetville’s live chat with crochet designer Tammy Hildebrand that took place on our Facebook page on Friday, October 18. Questions are organized alphabetically by the name of the person who posted them. We hope you’ll join us on our Facebook page for future chats with more of your favorite crochet designers. Transcript of Live Chat with Crochet Designer Tammy Hildebrand Crochetville: It’s time for our official live chat with crochet designer Tammy Hildebrand. The chat will take place here in this discussion thread. Feel free to post your questions for Tammy at any time. Tammy Hildebrand: Hi everyone! Crochetville: Here’s a link to all the patterns Tammy has available for sale in Crochetville’s digital pattern store. Crochetville: If you’re a member of Ravelry, here’s a link to a search for all of Tammy’s patterns. Crochetville: Tammy, thank you for being the first crochet designer in our new live chat series. We’re so glad you’re here with us this morning. Tammy Hildebrand: Thank you for having me. Donna Hulka: Hi, Tammy! Thank you for being here! Tammy Hildebrand: Thank you for having me! Crochetville: Tammy, to help people get to know you a bit better, can you tell us how you learned to crochet? Tammy Hildebrand: My second grade teacher taught me. We’re friends on FB so I was hoping she would stop by. Alissa B: No questions here, just wanted to say, I love your hair, the style & the color… Tammy Hildebrand: Well thank you very much Alissa! BeLinda C: Hi Tammy! Tammy Hildebrand: Hi Belinda! Give CeeCee a hug from me! BeLinda C: I will. She experiments with crochet some….wants to learn but we haven’t managed much yet. Crafts & Things: Hi Tammy! As a beginning designer, I’d like to know where you get your inspiration for all of your designs and a little about your design process. Tammy Hildebrand: I am inspired by everything! I see a bathroom tile and envision it as an afghan motif. Or maybe a wallpaper pattern I can see a great cardigan pattern. Be aware of your surroundings looking at colors and shapes, flow and movement. And just experiment to find your style. Crafts & Things: I’m trying to find my “design style”- I haven’t designed garments yet, mostly home décor and holiday things. I have lots of ideas but find the actual writing of patterns to go slower than I’d like. Crafts & Things: I have a lot of ideas and rough drafts of patterns; pattern writing takes me long and I don’t even do designs that need to be done in multiple sizes. Any suggestions on how to get noticed by magazines, publishers, etc- my designs are all self published. Tammy Hildebrand: I highly recommend joining CGOA (the Crochet Guild of America) and taking advantage of their wonderful mentoring program. You apply for associate professional status and request a mentor. You will be placed with an established professional to work with for 2 years and it’s no additional cost! You can find all the information at the link below. http://www.crochet.org/ Denise G: I love your beautiful seafoam green top! Tammy Hildebrand: Thank you Denise! Denise G: I have been seeing so many ads for different hooks. Do you use an ergonomic hook or just a regular one? Jill K: What is the name of the pattern for the top you are wearing on this thread? Love it… Tammy Hildebrand: I am actually wearing a shawl in the photo. It’s called “Waiting for Willow”. I designed it while I was waiting for my granddaughter Willow to be born. It’s in my new book “Crochet Wraps Every Which Way” coming out in January. It’s available for preorder on Amazon. You can visit my business page where I post about upcoming patterns, etc. https://www.facebook...260649393965228 Tammy Hildebrand: I use a lot of different hooks Denise. If you’re looking for a great ergonomic I really like https://www.facebook.com/furlscrochet Denise G:Yes, I have asked Santa to please get one – they look divine! Currently I use hooks with bamboo handles and I also have a Boye ergonomic handle that fits regular hooks of all (most) sizes. I like to switch it up when I am on a crocheting “jag.” Diana R: Hi Tammy, where is the best place to sale crocheted items and other craftd5? My Grandmother taught me to crochet the ds5y after I got married. That was 38 years ago October 11 . I have sold my stuff before mostly to family. Is there a place online that is good to sell items? Crochetville: Diana, Tammy doesn’t sell finished items, so she may not have a good answer to this question. Pam D: Diana – I sell finished items (as well as patterns) online. If you want to message me I’d be glad to chat with you (so we don’t hijack Tammy’s thread)Erin R: do you ever get an expensive, beautiful skein of yarn and then not know what to make with it? How do you decide whether its a hat, or scarf, or whatnot? Tammy Hildebrand: Let the yarn speak to you and tell you what it WANTS to be! I have a gorgeous skein of silk I bought about 8 years ago. It has to be created into something amazing and I’m just not sure what that is yet so I will just enjoy looking at it until it’s time! Erin R: I was wondering if you ever had formal training, like a college course or classes from yarn makers, that teach about the different types of material that can be crocheted with, or do you just experiment with textures? Tammy Hildebrand: No, I never had any formal training. I just learn as I go along. Experiment, have fun, try different things. There is no “wrong” way if you are enjoying it and are pleased with your end result. Hilda M: Hi Tammy i no how to crochet but how do I begin to crochet a rippled afghan? Tammy Hildebrand: Hi Hilda! You’re going to want to visit Mikey over at the Crochet Crowd. He makes wonderful tutorial videos and I was just watching one yesterday about ripples! https://www.facebook...116482731742088 Jill R: I taught myself to crochet, so I don’t know a lot. I want to make a tapestry afghan and don’t know where to start in making my pattern. Any tips? Crochetville: Suggestion: Study other tapestry crochet patterns and see how they are written. Make a graph/chart of your design. Tammy Hildebrand: Take advantage of all the wonderful resources online. Check out the Crochet Guild of America, The Crochet Crowd, join groups and network with others. Crocheters are very friendly, giving people and love to help one another. Kari O: Hi Tammy, any tips for beginners? Tammy Hildebrand: Hi Kari, If you look at my response to Jill above, same answer to you! There are so many great resources available now as well as online classes, attending conferences if you are able and taking advantage of their classes as well as interacting with others that share your interests. Kathryn W: Hi Tammy, You know you are an inspiration to a lot of people. You have a real gift for clothing design. Tammy Hildebrand: Aw..thanks Kathryn. That means so much! And right back at ya! You do amazing work yourself which I am in awe of! Kathryn W: Just wanted people to know they were chatting with a real talent. Kelly P-B: Hi Tammy, I make a lot of scrunchi’s, headbands, scarves, mitten scarves, wristies, etc… my trip-up is hats…lol They always come out with a poof on top… How do I avoid that from happening? Tammy Hildebrand: If you’re creating a “poof” your stitches are too tight. Try using a larger hook and or loosening your tension just for the first couple of rounds. That should take care of the problem. Kim Y: How come they don’t ever have any crochet events in Lacrosse, Wisconsin? Crochetville: Kim, the organizations create the crochet/knit shows have to consider all sorts of things when selecting a location: whether that location has an appropriate meeting facility (not too big, not too small, at the right price), whether enough people that support the organization will attend, whether enough people from the local population will attend, and so on. Kimberly M: Just stopping in for a quick minute to wish you Tammy an amazing Chat!! xoxo your CW Tammy Hildebrand: Thank you Dollie Crochetville: And she actually thought for half a second: “What will we do if nobody shows up?” That’s obviously not a problem. Instead, she has more questions than she can find and answer! Tammy Hildebrand: lol That’s a good problem to have! Kimberly M: I had to leave for a bit (darn work!!) I know she was worried! I’m glad it was so successful! Kristine M: I didn’t get a reply. Should I repost the question? Crochetville: We’ll get caught up to you. Tammy Hildebrand: Did I answer your question Kristine? If I didn’t could you please post it here? Thanks! Kristine M:No, but that’s ok. This thread is BUSY! Here it is again. I would love to know your favorite stitch/combo or technique? What is your favorite part of designing? Tammy Hildebrand: I love using open, lacy stitches. They create such a beautiful fabric and they work up so quickly. My favorite technique is join-as-you-go again for the same reasons. I love absolutely everything about designing! Pattern writing, not so much. Sizing, even less. Ha, Ha! Laura K: Tammy, you have a great sense of color in your designs. What inspires you to put certain colors together? Do you have advice you can share on how to put together colors that work? Tammy Hildebrand: I just use colors that I like. My favorites are bright, bold colors. Put a few colors together to see how you like them. If it works, go for it. If not, swap a color or two out and try something else. Lisa A: As an aspiring designer with a couple of patterns – how do I go about getting a copyright? Crochetville: Copyright is automatic with creation of your work. If you want to register the copyright (so you can sue in federal court for infringement), you can do so on the US Copyright Office website: www.copyright.gov. I believe the fee is $35 to file. Lisa A: Thank you. Marcee E: Do you have any tips for starting a crochet business and marketing crocheted items? I’m selling a few things on popular websites, but would like to be selling more and getting more notice. Ideas please. Tammy Hildebrand: If you are a member of the Crochet Guild of America we have a wonderful mentoring program. We place you with an established professional for 2 years to help you get started. If you’re not a member you can find the info here http://www.crochet.org/ Marcee E:I recently joined CGOA and heard that they have a mentoring program. How do I find that area of their website and get paired up with a mentor? Crochetville: Log on to crochet.org. Click the Learn tab —–> Crochet Professionals —–> Become a Professional Marcee E: Thank you! Deidre E: Once you become an Associate Pro and apply for a mentor, they will send your application to me and I will look for a mentor for you. I have just taken over from Renee’ Rodgers as Mentor Coordinator. Marcee E:Thank you, Tammy, Crochetville, and Deidre! Pam D: Just wanted to say Hi Tammy – and I hope your fingers are ready for a workout this morning. <sitting back now to read> Tammy Hildebrand: Ha, Ha! It was so great getting to spend some time with you at the conference. I love my wonderful stitch markers! Rebecca B: Hi Tammy. You are such a prolific designer! What are some of the inspirations for your designs? Tammy Hildebrand: LOL! There is absolutely nothing typical in my life so….I design here and there tucked in with real life. I have a 10 month old granddaughter that I watch a lot and that has changed things up a bit. The designing part comes very easy to me and it doesn’t take long (usually). The pattern writing is not my favorite part and I do a lot of procrastinating. My answer is about as clear as mud but I really have no “normal”. I just keep moving forward with whatever the day has presented and somehow it all gets done. Rebecca B: Thanks! Tammy Hildebrand: I forgot to mention in May I was working on a new baby crochet book that will be released next June. I was starting to panic with deadlines so I packed up and spent the weekend in a local motel for a crochet marathon to get caught up. I didn’t tell anyone where I was so I could work uninterrupted. Oh and it was my birthday. LOL. You do whatever it takes to get the job done! Rebecca B: I wouldn’t mind spending my birthday like that! But I’m sure our family and firends made it up to you later. Pam D: I totally do that too!! I take off for a week somewhere all by myself. I’ve made it happen 3 times in the last 2.5 years – LOVE it. Rose A: Do you have to ask about the mentoring program with CGoA? I started a business and have not been able to sell things. Crochetville: Rose, you need to apply to be an associate professional. Then you can request a mentor. Have you applied for associate professional status yet? Rose A: not yet I just became a renewed member of CGoA at the comference in concord. Deidre E: Once you become an Associate Pro, you can ask for a mentor and they will send your request to me. I have just taken over from Renee’ Rodgers as Mentor Coordinator. Cristin B: The Mentor program is fantastic! I recently graduated! My Mentor was great! Informative and supportive. Rose A: is there any tips you can give on changing colors? I always end up cutting and knotting. Tammy Hildebrand: Hi Rose – to change colors: work last stitch of old color to last yarn over. Yarn over with new color and draw through all loops on hook to complete the stitch. Proceed with new color. Fasten off old color or carry color not in use up the wrong side of the piece until needed again. When you are completely finished, fasten off all colors leaving about a 4″ length. Weave the tail in back and forth through the stitches to secure and trim off. Crochetville: I have one last question for Tammy. If anybody’s been following your personal page lately, they know you’ve been using a program that has resulted in dramatic weight loss, but even more importantly, has eliminated a lot of the symptoms you’ve suffered from chronic Lyme disease. Would you like to share any information about that? Tammy Hildebrand: I began a nutritional cleansing program on July 26. I have never felt better in my whole life! It has been incredible. All of my symptoms are gone, I am healthy and full of energy! As an added bonus, I’ve lost 37 1/2 pounds! If anyone would like information about the program, please send me a private message! I would LOVE for everyone to feel this amazing Crochetville: I can testify to the benefits of the program. I was able to lose about 8 pounds in a month and look good in the Star Trek dress I made for the recent crochet conference. Quite a few of our designer friends are also using this nutritional cleansing program and are experiencing weight loss and health benefits. You might be able to achieve similar results without this program, but it provides you with structure (built-in self-discipline!) and high-quality organic, natural products without a lot of processed ingredients. You also get a built-in support group for encouragement and support. Cristin B: Thank you Tammy and Amy what a great chat! Tammy Hildebrand: Thank you so much for coming Cristin Crochetville: Chatters, I’d like to say a big THANK YOU for attending our first chat today. It’s been frantic, frenetic, and I hope you’ve managed to have as much fun as I’ve had. Donna Hulka: Yes, thank you to everybody who joined us for this chat! And thank you, Amy, for organizing this and moderating! Tammy Hildebrand: Amy and Donna – thank you so much for inviting me here today! This was a lot of fun! And thank you to everyone that joined us! You all know where to find me on FB and I am available to answer questions anytime! Have a fantastic weekend!!! Crochetville: Tammy, thank you for being the first designer to brave this new idea! You were such a good sport keeping up with the huge volume of questions. I’m very glad you’re a fast typist! Donna Hulka: Thank you for being here, Tammy, and answering so many questions! It was a fun, active chat! I echo your thanks to everyone who joined us! About Tammy Hildebrand Tammy Hildebrand has been professionally designing crochet for almost 18 years and currently serves as the vice president for the Crochet Guild of America. She has two books coming out next year. Crochet Wraps Every Which Way will be released January 2014 and is currently available for pre-order on amazon (associates link). Crochet For Baby All Year will be released June 2014. Be sure to visit Tammy on her Facebook page and also at her new website for nutritional cleansing. - See more at: http://crochetville.com/
  5. Copyrights and Thieves © 2012 Tracy Joyner (Crochetville Username: tracy.joyner) October 18, 2012 Posted on Crochetville with permission. When I started my website and blog, I read that it would be insightful and a personal journey..that if you weren't growing on a personal level, you were doing something wrong. I wasn't sure how a crochet themed website and blog would cause me to embark on a "personal" journey, but I welcomed it if that was the case. I can now tell you, just 6 months later, that it is indeed the case. Yes, I promise, this leads to Inspire Me Monday. When I started the website, I had no idea about photo copyrights or why crochet project photos would / should be copyrighted. I could understand if your business was photography, that your photos would carry a copyright..but crochet projects that are freely shared online? Yes, they are covered by copyright and I now understand why. You see, there are people out there in the world who slurp your photos off the web and then present them as their own work while charging innocent consumers for products that may not look anything like the photo presented..and that's just the beginning. It's bad enough that people are selling their work, that may be sub-par, by using top shelf photos of someone elses' work. It's a lie. It's misrepresenting yourself and the product and it's stealing. It's just plain wrong. An even greater injustice is being carried out online. Designers, both large and small, are struggling to protect themselves against these thieves everyday! Their work is being stolen and resold by others on the internet..both their photos and their designs! So how am I Inspired by this? Well, if you have visited www.crochethappy.com, you know that I like to use a lot of pictures to make the information eye appealing to my readers. I mentioned that I was ignorant of photo copyrights when I started...can you see where this is going? Thankfully, I've had no serious issues regarding the photos..particularly the project photos for all the patterns I have listed. The copyright issue was brought to my attention in August of this year by the very helpful, and informed, folks at Crochetville. I had no idea why others might get their knickers in a twist about it, but if it was an issue I was determined that I would not knowingly "infringe" on anybodys' rights. That's just not me. So began the journey... I meticulously requested permission from every single individual and designer to post their project/photo/design. Everyone has been very gracious to me and I have made a great many friends in this process. Only a couple wanted me to remove their work from the website...literally two out of hundreds. I still hadn't journeyed to the point that I understood what the problem was, but I removed their information immediately and without question. Then...a couple of aspiring designers in a group I belong to became the targets of thieves as I described to you earlier. "What?" it was shocking!,..and it was right there in front of my eyes. The assault continued as I saw more of my online friends become the victims of this! My eyes were opening... Then came the day/week that I began contacting the designers of patterns I had listed in the "Babies, Infants, Preemies" category of my website's pattern collection. There is an entire page of designers "for sale" work available here. Thankfully..and I seriously mean "Thank you to them"..they did not blanketly object to having their work presented, but asked questions of me instead. Answering those questions, and/or seeking the answers to them, opened my mind to the clear understanding of what they go through on a daily basis to protect their designs! At their suggestion and with their assistance, I am now working with them to replace their photos with their logos or replacing their "For Sale" designs with their Free designs instead. Here is where I get Inspired... I'm angry that they have to go to such lengths to protect themselves from what is pure and simple thievery! It de-rails their creative energy from what could be spent designing beautiful and lovely items to share with the world.. but is instead forced to focus on protecting their designs from terrible people! We ALL lose. Designers creative spirits are hampered by this causing them to repress instead of let loose their creativeness into the world. We, as their consumers, are offered less. And what they already have made public is being "hidden away", so to speak, in an effort to protect it, instead of being made available for all to see. Yes, that makes me angry! I'm also tech savy and learn very quickly what I don't already know. I can make it so the photos are impossible to slurp, copy or edit. They will NOT steal from us and my website will, hopefully, become known as a safe place on the internet to display crochet designs because I will protect them! So, I am Inspired this week and this Monday...(I feel like saying "I solemnly vow" at this part) To learn how to protect every single submission to my website. I will create a safe haven on the internet for crochet designers to share their work with the world. Thank You Genuinely to all those who have allowed me to present their work. Please know that it is because of you, and your struggle to protect your work, that I begin this mission to create a safe place to present it. --- Part Two: My next article will cover steps we can take to protect our work and our dreams. But first, I 'm not going to wait to share what is on my heart. Since posting "Copyrights & Thieves" on Monday, I have received a lot of comments, and spoken with, crafters, crocheters and designers who are so concerned about theft that they do not publish, post, share or even start blogs of their own because of their worry that someone might steal their work. I have to pose this question: How much of our time and creative energy are we going to allow these thieves to rob us of? I'm going to share something with you... There was a very frightening time in my life when my family found ourselves in the middle of a very serious situation involving a very connected drug organization. I don't appologize for over using "very" in one sentence...it's called for. We very boldly continued to live in the middle of our neighborhood and provide information to 3 separate law enforcement teams while the drug organization brought in their "enforcers" and openly threatened us. We were essentially under self-imposed house arrest, eating nothing that did not come from a can that could not be tampered with, drinking only bottled water and nothing from the tap, staying away from windows and opening the door to no one. We were followed everywhere we went if we left the house. My husband kept watch every night on our roof with a rifle. I was given a sawed-off shotgun as protection. My children were instructed on where to hide and how to be quiet If Mommy gave the order..they could not play outside or visit friends houses. After 4 1/2 months my husband was so frightened and paranoid that he could no longer determine reality from imagined threats. We finally moved our family to a very remote location far away for a period of 2 years..self-imposed witness protection. My question again... How much are you willing to allow these "bad guys" to take from you? How much time will you spend worrying about them. They certainly are not concerned for or about you. How much of your life will you change because of their potential threat? Is it worth allowing this potential threat to change the course of your dreams? My choice is to pursue your dreams relentlessly without pause for them (thieves). Don't allow "what could happen" to alter your life. When you do that, you are giving them more than they intend to take...you give them power they do not have and a part of your life they do not care about. If they want it bad enough, they are going to take it...You don't have to make it easy for them but don't let them have more than they intended to take either. The course of your life should be guided by your dreams not your fears. Much Love for You All...I hope you give thoughtful consideration to my thoughts, feelings and my words today. TracyAnn
  6. Please feel free to share a link to this article on Facebook . Quit Your Day Job: EternalSunshine Story by EternalSunshine Reprinted from the Etsy blog with permission under the Creative Commons license. Photo by EternalSunshine Tell us about your previous working situation and how you discovered Etsy.

 I make an array of toy-size smiley and frowny crocheted foods, common objects and creatures. I also make owl soaps that come with mini crocheted scarves. EternalSunshine grew out of a time that was anything but “eternal sunshine.” A year and a half after I graduated from college, I was diagnosed with a severe form of the chronic autoimmune digestive disease, ulcerative colitis. At the time I was living in New York City, working in museum education and public programs while also dabbling in nannying. Because of my bad health, I was eventually forced to leave all those jobs and live primarily a house-bound existence. My live-in boyfriend, then a full-time web developer at a NYC blogging empire, was very tech-savvy and was aware of Etsy, which was only a year old. He knew I lived and breathed everything craft as a kid and encouraged me to revisit those creative skills. Crocheting was one of the few crafty skills I had never attained, and in those early days of browsing Etsy, I kept coming across smiley “amigurumi.” I wanted to master crocheting, and I literally and bitterly said to that boyfriend, “If I’m going to be twiddling my thumbs indefinitely, I’d better as **** have something to show for it.” So, from the confines of my bed and numerous medical environments, I taught myself to crochet. At first, I sold a variety of crafts in my shop: origami envelopes, cookies and earrings, but I quickly settled on crochet. Tell us about your shop and the idea behind it.

 The name of my shop refers to the Alexander Pope poem, which I had studied in college, and the Charlie Kaufman film it inspired. Both the poem and film address the idea of forgetfulness as a way to deal with life. “EternalSunshine” was also meant to be tongue in cheek, because I was so sick and pretty darn miserable. Since I had a love/hate relationship with food (and life!), I started creating patterns for “frowny foods,” foods that were exposed to high heat like roasted marshmallows. I was positively addicted to crochet and expanded beyond frowny foods, making deflated balloons, happy peas in a pod, Christmas ball ornaments, clementines, silver-lined clouds, and anything else my customers wanted. There were a lot of custom requests! As part of my listing description, I usually included some kind of personal story — the “why” behind the item, which again, goes back to my teaching roots, those storytelling, imaginative, and explaining-everyting elements. In hindsight, I realize that I was creating this little world that replaced the one I had when working with children on a daily basis, both full of stories, socialness, emotions, excitement and adventure. What steps did you take to prepare for transitioning into full time Etsy selling? For better or worse, not many! Etsy becoming more of a full-time gig was not exactly planned. For many months and even the first couple years I considered it a hobby to keep me busy until I got better and could return to teaching. Well, I never got better, and my hobby turned into a business almost without me realizing! In the early years of EternalSunshine, I also had a bunch of writing/blogging/social media gigs, so it only became more full-time in the last year and a half when I moved back home for health reasons and didn’t have those writing gigs that were NYC-specific. Photos by EternalSunshine What is your favorite part of the process in crocheting?

 I love all of it! I truly love getting custom requests from customers that I call “crochet challenges,” turning their little yarn dreams into realities. It makes the process of crocheting the same thing over and over so much more interesting, personal, creative, entertaining and collaborative. For instance, when I was still in NYC, a prominent fromager there asked me to design a line of smiling gourmet cheeses, so I met her and some other cheese folks in the process. Teachers have requested objects to represent the vowels to use in preschool classes and construction and transportation-related companies will adopt my crochet safety cone as their mascot. Some custom requests involve inside-joke stories; I think this one is my favorite: “The relationship with my boyfriend started over a conversation about clementines in Whole Foods. I only gave him my number because he described clementines as kind and generous and the quiet king of citrus. He also keeps small stuffed animals tucked in all of his cabinets because he ‘likes to be greeted when he opens a door.’ So this is really a perfect gift for him.” What are your best marketing tips? I’m not a business person by nature, so this is where I’m not so good with advice; I’ve never advertised and never done craft shows. My email signature and quote on my business cards is from William Blake: “I will not reason or compare; my business is to create.” So… yeah. But here goes: This may seem really obvious, but you know how for brick-and-mortar businesses, they say, “Location, location location!”? I think for Etsy shops, that simple but vital concept should be either “Tags, tags, tags!” or “Photos, photos, photos!” “Tags” because that is one important way of finding you in the sea of sellers and photos because they affect how people instantaneously react to your shop and goods. In both cases, obviously your product or service needs to somehow be desirable and sustainable, but words and photos will go a long way, especially if you are just starting out. Check out your Shop Stats to see how browsers and customers arrive at your shop. I also advocate spreading the word about your shop merely by word of mouth. I used to be more active in the craft blog scene, but letting friends and family know about your business can go a long way. What’s been your most popular item or line to date?

 My Snow-Proof Safety Cone (and his many Safety Cone friends) has quite the following and he’s the only one of my creations that can boast a Facebook page and a prime spot on my nightstand. I posted the pattern for him on my blog a while back and for whatever reason it really resonated with people — there are almost 100 comments! Snow-Proof Safety Cone came into existence when I was living alone for the first time during a NYC winter. I started taking pictures if I was out and about with SPSC (for short!) in the same vein as the gnome in the movie Amelie. When I moved back home to Pittsburgh, I made pierogies, because this is very much a pierogi town. They have been ridiculously popular, to the extent that in the year and a half I’ve been back here, I think I’ve sold 300-400 on Etsy and at a shop. That’s almost a pierogi a day! Photos by EternalSunshine Made any business mistakes you regret?

 I can’t say I regret much in regards to my Etsy shop other than little snafus like printing one side of two-sided business cards upside-down. There are probably things I should regret — like particular instances when I said no to bigger, more corporate opportunities — but I have little desire to grow the business beyond my own two hands. What’s the hardest part about running your own business?

 Only having two hands and dealing with a chronic disease. I have become very fast at crocheting, but there’s still only one of me! It’s challenging to want to do so much, with my craft and with my life in general, and be faced with a lot of serious health obstacles. One time when I was in the hospital for about 12 days, I was up against a Crochet Today magazine deadline so, as usual, I brought all of my yarn work with me. My IVs kept bleeding and coming out of my wrists because of the crochet motion and because my veins were collapsed. My doctor, who knew me and my work well, looked at my hands and skeins of yarn everywhere and said, “I don’t want to see this stuff in here anymore.” It was always hard for me when really sick and/or hospitalized to make the practical decision to cancel orders and close down my Etsy shop, to know when I had to stop creating for the time being. I lost my sense of purpose and identity, feeling like I failed and solely existed as a sick person. I also felt like I was letting people down. My doctor, all serious and blunt, would respond with something like, “Imagine how many people you are going to be let down because you ignore your disease and die.” It’s hard to find a balance between all of life’s responsibilities and know when to take a break to tend to other things. What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? I never would have imagined earning a living in such a creative and amazing way. I was not a 9-to-5er, never once held a job where I sat at a desk each day, but funnily enough, I sure do sit at a desk a lot for my Etsy work! But it’s doing something so fun and fulfilling where I can channel my energy. And let’s face it, I’ve created this alternate reality of fun plush objects that make for a super cute and fun work environment. It’s like living in a Toy Story or Muppet film! As one of my great inspirations, Jim Henson, said, “Life’s like a movie. Write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” What is the most exciting thing that has come out of selling your designs through Etsy? Books! Selling my things on Etsy is directly responsible for me becoming involved in co-editing and co-authoring craft books! Thus far, I have two titles under my belt, Witch Craft and Microcrafts, both published by Quirk Books and distributed by Random House. I’ve also made crafts for Better Homes & Gardens for their Halloween segments on The Today Show, designed for fiber magazines and contributed to the Photojojo book and a Barnes & Noble book/kit entitled Yummy Crochet. Again, I never would have imagined that picking up a ball of yarn and opening an Etsy shop could lead to such things! But, outshining perhaps even these book, magazine, and TV accomplishments has been the ability to make a living (or part of a living) while maintaining a desire and will to live in spite of being dealt a rough hand. Sometimes I think I owe Etsy my very life and I say that in the deepest, most sincere way. In 2010, when I was essentially succumbing to my disease, I had to have my colon surgically removed and decided to design and crochet a “frowny colon,” which I guess was my creative way of dealing with this devastating culmination of being sick for six years. I listed it on Etsy and I got emails from all over the world, from other people who also had ulcerative colitis. They would tell me their story and thank me for making them laugh. Craft can be so powerful! What advice would you give someone considering a similar path? Be realistic about the financial challenges that come along with running a creative business full time, especially if you don’t have a spouse, a savings account or a trust fund to fall back on. I knew nothing about small business loans back then or buying in bulk or how to be an entrepreneur in general, and though it didn’t stop me from succeeding, if you have the luxury of doing research about the market you are entering and all the number-crunching, do it! And read this Quit Your Day Job column here on Etsy. What goals do you have in store for the future of EternalSunshine?

 I’ve been contemplating the future of my business a lot lately, as I just got through a year of three major abdominal surgeries and difficult recoveries, and I can finally boast some health! It has been a long seven years, and though I won’t ever quite be 100% normal, I will no longer be chronically ill. I can’t imagine working and creating without all the health hurdles, so it’s a really exciting time for me! I would like to teach kids, especially teenagers, how to crochet and knit, but also give them the pragmatic business tools to be able to sell their wares if they want to. Foster Pride’s HandMade program in NYC is doing something similar, where a bunch of Manhattan group home teens run a crochet Etsy shop! Imagine the possibilities of having collectives like that all over the country. I would love to combine my former career of teaching with my new career of crafting and crocheting in this way. Lastly, I would really like to publish a book of my crochet designs. This book would not only include the crochet instructions, but the stories from customers that I have collected along the way, so that you can “read” the book as well as create from it. Additionally, I have an idea for children’s books based on my Safety Cone Adventures photo-and-story series, but I want it to be thought-provoking enough for adults, like Dr. Seuss and Leo Lionni books or the Pixar films. Anything else you would like to share? When life hands you lemons, don’t be satisfied with just making lemonade. Instead, build the most fun, creative and successful lemonade stand that you can possibly imagine!
  7. Please feel free to share a link to this article on Facebook . Animal Architecture: Creature-Inspired Craft and Design Story by chaps676 Reprinted from the Etsy blog with permission under the Creative Commons license. Photo by Steve Jurvetson on Flickr Rarely do we think of animals as craftsmen. The stunning masterpieces our fellow creatures create on a daily basis are usually done out of necessity; birds make nests to keep their eggs safe and bees construct intricate hives to protect their queen and store honey. When we engage and study the methods animals and insects use to create their dwellings, the result is a new field called Animal Architecture. What began as a scientific study, is now filled with artists and designers who look to nature to inform their work. In her Mended Spiderwebs series, artist Nina Katchadourian spent six weeks locating broken webs in a nearby forest. She then repaired each web with thread, photographing the end results. “The morning after the first patch job, I discovered a pile of red threads lying on the ground below the web,” said Katchadourian. “At first I assumed the wind had blown them out; on closer inspection it became clear that the spider had repaired the web to perfect condition using its own methods, throwing the threads out in the process.” Photos: mhass30 on Flickr (left) / Brendan Rankin on Flickr (right) Left: Nina Katchadourian's Mended Spiderweb. Right: The Hyperbolic Coral Reef The astonishing inhabitants of the ocean floor are represented in the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, where the soft, effeminate nature of crochet is combined with the geometric rigidity of coral growth patterns to create a 4,000 square foot reef (pictured in the header image above). Each coral is made through a method called hyperbolic crochet, developed in the late ’90s to explore complex fractals in mathematics. Such a process lends itself to replicating the geometrical innards of coral. ”The basic process for making [the coral] is a simple pattern or algorithm, which on its own produces a mathematically pure shape, but by varying or mutating this algorithm, endless variations and permutations of shape and form can be produced,” writes Christine and Margaret Wertheim, creators of the reef. Aside from artists and craftspeople, designers are also taking cues from animal habits. As founders of Animalarchitecture.org, Ned Dodington and Jonathan LaRocca hope to inspire designers and others to consider new ways for humans to live in harmony with the rest of the animal kingdom. Almost every animal defines its living space in some way; through studying such animal behavior, architects and designers hope to glean new methods of building stronger skyscrapers or sturdier houses, for instance. Dodington and LaRocca maintain the tagline: “Explorations in Cospecies Coshaping.” Photo: geneva_wirth on Flickr A rendering of Oyster-Tecture In its most fulfilling state, animal architecture is a process that can heal and rebuild the homes of animals that have been displaced or destroyed by human activity. In the Red Hook area of New York City’s harbor, the city is focusing on restoring the waterways that have been damaged by a century’s worth of nearby factory pollution. SCAPE, a landscape architecture and urban design firm, proposed Oyster-Tecture, a synthetic reef to be installed in the water, promoting the growth of thousands of oysters, as well as mussels and eelgrass. The reef would be constructed out of a fuzzy rope strung in a web-like pattern, encouraging all sorts of creatures and grasses to settle into the webbing. Why focus so much energy on such a tiny creature? Oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, making them some of the best natural biofilters any body of water could have. They also attract countless new species, like scores of birds, who survive on the shelled morsels for their food supply. Providing a new home for oysters would result in a multi-faceted ecosystem, drawing new life to the area, while naturally cleaning the polluted water. In the case of SCAPE’s oyster project, animal architecture can often become a grandiose practice, where design mockups may look beautiful, but never realized due to budgetary and political limitations. Yet even if Oyster-Tecture is never built, the point of such a project is to encourage a reexamination of our relationship with nature, reminding us to appreciate and learn from other creatures who require the same basic necessities of food and shelter in their lives. “Learning how an organism keeps itself warm or how it recirculates waste is often the easy part; the difficult bit is to actually emulate that strategy with our own technologies,” writes natural science author Janine Benyus in Biophilic Design: The Theory Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life. “With emulation comes humbleness…in this way, biomimicry leads the practitioner into a renewed relationship with the natural world based on respect, awe, even reverence. The act of asking nature’s advice, of valuing nature for its wisdom, bridges the distance that has developed between humans and the rest of nature.” The study of animal architecture isn’t just a process to create better structures; its main goal is to create empathic humans, who realize that we’re only as good as the world we inhabit.
  8. Valentine's Day is fast approaching! Do you need an idea for a quick and easy project for a special someone? Check out the following free patterns that you can find here at Crochetville: 1. Rustic Heart Bookmark by champygirl 2. Small Candy "Smooch" by KristieMN 3. Cute Valentine's Heart by The Happy Housewife 4. Heart Coaster by Addey 5. Stacked Hearts Scarf by champygirl
  9. Fabric of Life: Melissa's Crocheted Table Cloth Gift By Keith John Paul Horcasitas © 2012 Keith Horcasitas. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. A short story about Melissa's crocheted table cloth gift for my wife, and how it continues to transform me - initially, in how to be a better listener and social worker and continually, in finding ways, like she did, to craft the fabric of life for God, myself and others. It was the first Sunday of the month, so we got ready to coordinate the donuts' ministry after the 9:15 AM Latin Mass at St. Agnes in Baton Rouge like we usually did. After picking up the donuts and getting to church before Mass, I set up the table outside to be ready for when the little (and big) kids would come running later for some sweet rewards for good behavior in church. The table cloth this time was different from the normal white covers we usually used - it was a beautiful crimson red crocheted circular shaped cover that fit neatly over the folding table; Maria must have put this in the supplies bag, since it was in January, technically still in the Christmas season (not in any way symbolizing my support for Saban's Alabama - for what was then the upcoming BCS game in New Orleans that LSU lost!). A rush of memories suddenly came over me as I recalled this table cloth, which I had commissioned Melissa to make many years ago for my sweetheart, Maria, before we were married. And with March being "National Social Work Month," I couldn't help but see how instrumental Melissa was with my development in the field. When I first met Melissa in the fall of 1981, I was unaccustomed to interacting with folks at nursing homes. So I was a little tentative in knowing what to say as a greeting or how to fully engage with her. Even though this was part of the mental health outreach work that I was involved in to isolated elders in the San Joaquin area of California per the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), I had not previously done a lot of visitations, either personally or professionally, with elders. Her semi-private room door was already ajar, so I gently knocked on it to alert her that I was coming in and said, "Is this a good time for a visit, Ms. Melissa," as I had been foretold by the charge nurse that she was someone identified who may possibly benefit from professional contact for depression and isolation. It sounded like Melissa had no local family contacts and was very limited in her mobility due to severe degenerative joint disease. As our eyes met when I went closer to her bed, she appeared very diminutive and emaciated yet manged to convey a cheerful smile as she softly spoke, "I'm here working on another treasure - come and see it." I stood right next to her and noticed how contorted her body was with pillows all around her hospital bed for cushioning and relief. My eyes were then immediately drawn to her hands that evidenced the twisted trauma of rheumatoid arthritis. Somehow, securely in place between her thumb and index finger was a crocheting needle affixed in some cloth material with a pattern for some design that she was working on. She proceeded to ask me the normal pleasantry question one does when meeting a new person for the first time: "Where are you from?" as she continued to work her crochet needle elegantly in a continuous fashion with her eyes fixed on some cloth that appeared to be a quilt being made. After I told her my name, my work role and that I was from New Orleans, there was a period of that silence that most of us know about - when you are uncomfortable about what to say next. Here I was, a social work apprentice remembering the dictum to "start where the client is," so I shut up and tried to use some listening skills that I supposedly had acquired in undergraduate studies. Over the next hour and following many of subsequent visits with Melissa, I learned much from and with her about what coping strategies can help elders and anyone in dealing with depression and isolation - intertwined with other "fabrics of life" lessons - not to mention learning how to crochet! Later, I certainly made brownie points with Maria from Melissa's beautiful crocheted birthday gift! I followed my JVC year by concentrating on gerontology within the Graduate School of Social Work at San Diego State University. It was neat how after my first year of graduate school, Maria and I were married and able to take a trip to the San Joaquin Valley to visit with Melissa, who had declined but was still crocheting. The gerontology section of the School of Social Work was the smallest of the four divisions, with only 10 students. The students in the other social work divisions seemed reluctant, even fearful of working with the elderly. They were preparing for the fields of mental health, children and families and hospital social work. They wondered aloud why I would consider working with "that group." I certainly shared with them some memories of lessons learned from Melissa and Lucille, a frail elder whom I was a care giver for in my first year of graduate school. My fellow grad students thought of working with the elderly as depressing; they were put off by the urine smells in nursing homes and by the death and dying. One student even shared a fear of "touching someone with wrinkles." These feelings were shared honestly, and my fellow students were better suited to work with struggling families and children or in hospital settings. I couldn't help but recall how touched I was by Melissa's rheumatoid hands and spirit! Aside from my time studying the biological, economic and psychological aspects of aging, my school experience taught me that too often old age is hidden not just from our eyes but even more from our feelings. We not only tend to deny the reality of old men and women living in closed rooms and nursing homes, but also, as Henri Nouwen noted, the old man or woman who is slowly awakening in each of us. Melissa certainly gave me an invaluable understanding far beyond book knowledge of aging, coping with losses and death and dying. Back at church, after Maria and I had finished giving out the mouth watering donuts with milk and orange juice intertwined with some great conversations, we folded the exquisite crocheted table cloth from Melissa and shared a prayer of thanksgiving for the living legacy of what Melissa had shared with us - the fabric of life! Keith John Paul Horcasitas, LCSW, MHA 1133 Knollhaven Drive, BRLA 70810 khorcasitas AT yahoo DOT com January 15, 2012