Archive for April, 2008


Of all the things I miss in life, I miss my mind the most

It’s official. I’ve lost my mind. I just spent the past two days working on the fingering weight ruana using the WRONG FREAKIN’ HOOK!!! I put the ruana down a few weeks ago to finish the two basket weave projects but started up again on Saturday, realizing my June 15 deadline. I thought I left the correct hook in the project bag. I could have sworn I did so. I even told someone I was using a “G” hook. I just couldn’t figure out why the front was working up larger than the back. I checked my stitch count over and over and over again. Three times I chained and three times I worked into that foundation chain all to no success. I just never occurred to me that I should have been using an “F”. I do not remember using an “F” originally. How did this happen? I’ve lost my mind.


Old Dog: New Trick

Ok. So, I’m not the most flexible person walking the earth. I am “of an age” when I have become set in my ways. I’m not stubborn or closed-minded; I can be persuaded to change my mind given sufficient evidence. But, by and large, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Such has been my attitude toward symbol crochet. Figuring I can’t be the only one who isn’t interested in learning this fancy-shmancy pattern device, I assumed that traditional pattern writing wasn’t soon to be abolished and that, by the time symbols have completely overtaken crochet patterns, I’ll be long gone anyway.

So, imagine my chagrin when my new crochet student walks into our first session with a pattern book done exclusively in symbols, pointing and announcing. “I want to make THAT!” I immediately began to panic. This woman is paying good money for my expertise.  Am I now going to tell her that I don’t know what the hell I’m looking at?  Well, mercifully, I had, on occasion, glanced at a symbol chart before and I did recognize a few of the symbols and the pattern in question was done in the round so that I pretty much could intuit where we were going and it did have pretty pictures and there was a glossary of symbol definitions. The sweaty palms dried up and my heartbeat returned to normal cadence and I thought to myself, “Hell, this isn’t difficult, at all. What’s the big deal?”

So, now I love symbol crochet.


Basket weave Pullover

I FINALLY finished the basket weave pullover yesterday. Now, I have to size the pattern. Luckily the back and sleeves are identical to the hoodie, so I won’t have to re-invent the wheel. I love designing but, by golly, I HATE pattern writing. No matter how careful I am, not matter how many times I check my calculations, no matter how many other folks proofread the pattern no matter how many times, I am always stuck with the embarrassment of issuing errata. I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT!!!!!!!!

My one wish in this career of mine, such as it is, it to be able, at some point, to hire someone to write out my patterns. But, I think pigs will fly sooner. I am lucky that I have someone reliable and willing to proofread my stuff. I wish I were able to provide better compensation than simply a copy of the pattern. I need to do better than that.

All of a sudden, I am being deluged with requests for crochet classes. Why this sudden interest in beyond me. I have been advertising with little success for almost three years. Now, I have to carefully schedule lest I overbook my time. No complaints, mind you. I love teaching; and the money ain’t bad, either!

My little chapter of Crochet Guild of America is entertaining the idea of hosting a gathering of other local (SF Bay Area/N. California) chapters for a day of classes, networking and socializing. If any of you are nearby and would be interested in such an event, let me know. We’re looking at next spring (late April/early May) as a possibility. It should be a lot of fun.


Pedantically Officious

OK. Here’s the rub. I am an admitted snob regarding the English language. Errors in grammar, punctuation, pronunciation and spelling drive me around the bend. I readily confess that I am not perfect. An occasional gem of grammatical inaccuracy will escape my lips. I have often experienced a brain cramp which inhibits the correct spelling of a word. However, I know my error and take steps to correct it and prevent a recurrence.

Some say to me that I am too rigid, that language is a living organism which is meant to evolve and grow. Perhaps. Some say to me that correctness is, ultimately, unimportant as long as communication is achieved. Perhaps. Some say to me that the rules of grammar are too restrictive and are only observed by those who wish to maintain some state of superiority over those less learned. Not likely.

There are certain everyday words in our native tongue which have been subject to particular abuse in this day and age and, folks, it is time to stand and object. The following are egregious examples of words which are regularly and habitually mispronounced in both our everyday conversations and in the national media, as well. The words are listed with their correct spellings, a phonetically correct pronunciation and finally, the offending mispronunciation, also in phonetics.

Here they are , in no particular order of offense:

Athlete correct: ath-leet incorrect: ath-uh-leet

Realtor correct: ree-awl-tore incorrect: ree-lah-tore

Jewelry correct: jew-ul-ree incorrect: jew-lah-ree

Probably correct: prah-baw-blee incorrect: prah-bul-lee

Supposedly correct: sah-po-zed-lee incorrect: sah-po-zah-blee

Oh, there are so, so many more but I need to stop before I appear a bit TOO concerned. If you find yourself guilty of these grammatical fractures, you will always have something by which to remember me; and that’s not too objectionable, I hope.

P.S. If you find any misspellings or grammatical errors contained within, please don’t feel obliged to tell me. I have already found them and have already chastised myself 🙂


I've got a secret!

I’ve got a secret. SHHH! Don’t tell anyone, but I purchased my first set of knitting needles this afternoon. Ooh, I feel so naughty, like a little boy going to the library to sneak a peak at the National Geographic magazines (Don’t give me that look! If you are male and of a certain age, you know exactly what I’m talking about!) But, it’s true. I’m learning to knit. I hope my hooks don’t get lonely.

Actually, I do fear losing time from crochet, since it is now my source of income. But I do feel the draw of knitting. My original notion of combining crochet and knit in my designs was dealt a bit of a blow when a prominent needlework publisher and designer (and friend) cautioned me that such an endeavor may be a waste of time since most crocheters don’t knit and most knitters wouldn’t be caught dead with a hook in their hands. A sad commentary, I think, but we’ll see. First I have to learn to work those needles. Then, I’ll decide if I want to take the chance.

Regardless, while I find certain satisfaction (and glee), in the company of knitters, in proving that what I produce is “not your grandmother’s crochet”, that wearable and attractive garments can be crocheted, I still feel that I would benefit from knowing both crafts. While I have come to accept as compliments the remarks that my work doesn’t look crocheted, I’m curious to know what I can produce in the world of knitting.

Just the other night, while meeting with my local LGBT Stitch ‘n Bitch (known as Knit Night to everyone else but me :D), one of the participants mentioned, while looking at the Basket Weave pullover currently at the end of my hook, that, if that (the pullover) was what crochet was all about, he’d love to learn. But, if all crochet entailed making granny squares, he wasn’t interested. I had to interject that, while I, too, was not a fan of the traditional granny square, it was by spending an entire summer, that year I learned to crochet, making 7″ granny, and sampler, squares that I truly learned to crochet. It was through maneuvering through the foreign language we call a pattern and manipulating the yarn into all these odd knots, that I really learned my craft. Whenever I would encounter a stitch I had not worked before, I’d give it a whirl. If the fingers wouldn’t cooperate, I’d set that pattern aside and go to something else. But, wonder of wonders, I would pick up the same pattern in a few days or weeks and Voila! No sweat! As learning to read by first memorizing the alphabet, we learn our needle crafts in baby steps, stitch by stitch, technique by technique. When I first picked up the hook in January, 2001, I had no idea that, in less than four years later, I would be a published designer, especially since I almost gave up completely the first time I attempted to crochet a chain. Yes, a chain. I just couldn’t do it. But, I’m a stubborn cuss and determination pushed me past that obstacle. The rest, proverbially speaking, is history.

Yes, I’m going to be a knitter….and a crocheter. I promise to treat my children without a hint of favoritism. Maybe.


Getting Back to Business

Despite the whirlwind of craziness in my life lately, I have managed to finish the scarf design for Crochet! Magazine. Actually, I finished it 1 2/3 times. You see, when I originally began this project, I really, really knew that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to complete the scarf. Yet, being the willful little bastard that I am, I pressed forward, knowing in my heart of hearts that, since the yarn was purchased very recently at Michael’s, I’d certainly have no problem matching the dye lot. WRONG!!!!!!

So, I after completing about 2/3 of the scarf, I had to start all over again because THE FREAKING YARN DIDN’T MATCH!!!!

Mercifully, I was able to complete the scarf in 4 days of nearly non-stop hooking (a girl gets tired, dont’ ya know!). Luckily, I wrote the pattern and had it tested weeks ago, so I won’t have to endure a couple days of irritability working out the details. The deadline isn’t until May 15, so I am well ahead of schedule. I need to redo the fringe…it’s really a nightmare to work that knotted fringe. Then it’s in the mail next week. Yippee!

Next on my agenda is to complete the Men’s Basket Weave Pullover and the fingering weight version of the Hooded Ruana. Stay tuned.


Another night of heartburn

I promised myself….I REALLY did…that I was going to let the recent unpleasantness go, that I simply was going to move on and let it all go. Right. I received the following this evening. It is typical of the kind of garbage I have been seeing for the past three days. I am now, more than ever, convinced that some folks can never be pleased, that there is always someone who will want more than you have offer.

I will unsub from your list, and have deleted all patterns I have from you. I apologize for doing you wrong. I should never have accepted your patterns you had offered for free so we could try your patterns. I have considered your work to be wonderful. I am glad I had not yet gotten around to ordering your patterns I was wanting. The quarter of a scarf I have managed to do will be frogged my next day off, Thursday.

What would motivate someone to express such feelings? I don’t even know who this person is. Apparently she has some of my patterns. Apparently she likes my patterns. Apparently she’s doing some sort of guilt and turning it toward me. So be it. I have said my peace, calmly and succinctly. I have no idea why she feels the need for this mea culpa. I really don’t know who she is. But, she evidently doesn’t want to know me any more.

I’m taking a break. No Yahoo groups, no Ravelry…NO MORE DRAMA. I am indignant that these people feel the need to lay their crap at my door. My time and energy are not for public consumption. I’m tired.

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