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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Crochet News

What can I say, it's Wednesday, and I'm up because the hubby had to go to work early today.  So, here I am :-)

Thought I would take this opportunity to tell you about a new (knit and) crochet magazine that I found in Barnes and Noble a few months ago.  It's called "Knit & Crochet Style" and it's printed in Germany but written in English.  There seem to be 2 issues so far, but it's not clear to me if it's a monthly publication.  The first issue has both knit and crocheted sweaters and tops for women, and the second issue has baby items.  I haven't made anything yet, but I get the feeling it is written with English (v. American) crochet terms.  But, there are a lot of photographs and schematics, so I'm hoping I can figure it out.  I'll report back.

I'm still refining the crochet tips book on Lifetips -- I'm awaiting their software upgrade so that I can get that project put to bed!  The delay has been frustrating, but in a way, it's motivated me to keep cleaning up and organizing the site and to start work already on the sequel!

I will leave with a teaser -- for those of you living in or near Washington DC, it looks more and more certain that there will be a yarn store in Dupont Circle in the fall!!  Whoooo, hoooo.  I will know more in the next few weeks and will blab then :-)

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The title refers to my Etsy shop -- it is now down to two active listings, which will expire next week!  I have (sort of) done this on purpose because I need to revamp the shop and figure I should do it on a clean slate.  Of course, how this revamping is going to occur is not totally clear to me yet, but I have a week in which to figure it out ;-o

I still struggle to figure out how best to spend my limited crafting time and what products frankly will appeal to the most people.  I think a lot of people struggle with the dilemma of making what they want to make versus what will actually sell.  Of course, you're always hoping that the two will be one in the same!

Right now, as far as actual crochet projects go, I'm intrigued with crochet techniques that yield knit-looking fabrics.  I'm testing out some different ways to create "knit" and "purl" stitches using a crochet hook and incorporating those stitches into a few projects that I've got pictured in my head.  I know we're just starting summer, and it is my favorite season, but my mind is already on scarves and shawls, though I just got this cool ribbon-like yarn that I think would actually work well for a summertime cover-up, so maybe I should work on that before getting sidetracked by scarves and winter garb!

Speaking of summertime days, I think I'm going to get out there and enjoy it -- I can crochet when it's dark outside!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The I Hook

So, I get a call from a friend last night -- sounds like she's distressed and calling from a crowded venue.  "Phyllis, I'm at the craft store, and there are no I hooks!  I'm crocheting another baby blanket, and if I use a G hook, it's going to be half the size it's supposed to be!  Help!"  Oh, I love me a good crochet emergency :-) 

Which got me to thinking about how "emergencies" in our lives can be both good and bad.  They sure get the blood flowing, but adding stress to your life is never a good idea.  It might be a good time to start planning some crochet projects as Christmas presents and starting NOW to work on them -- much less stress when November and December roll around :-) 

I've been having so many crochet ideas flowing through my head (good), but no time or inclination to do anything about it (bad).  I'm not going to stress about it though -- creativity can't be forced.  I just read somewhere that the best way to get into a creative groove is to NOT think about it and to go and do something totally different.  Makes sense -- sometimes, my best ideas come to me when I'm in the shower! Oh, and it's so important to write that "great" idea down when it comes to you.  Otherwise, you will forget it, and you can then have the luxury of contemplating and refining the idea later on to figure out if it's really that great or not.

So, have a great creative and productive day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Why

So, I've actually been reading "Start With Why" (usually, I go to these lectures, get the book, then put it up on the shelf to gather some dust!).  It's not like Mr. Sinek says anything that you don't already sort of know, it's just that he is so good at articulating and explaining these concepts in a coherent and useful way.  For example, Chapter 5 is about Clarity, Discipline, and Consistency.  He talks first about having a clarity of why -- you really need to know why you do what you do.  Then, he has you focus on the discipline of how -- once you know why you do what you do, then you need to figure out how to do it.  Then, it's all about the consistency of what -- the why is your belief, the how is the action you are going to take to realize your belief, then the what is the result of your actions, everything you say and do.

I remember growing up my mom used to always say "if you don't have your health, you don't have anything."  So, I've always believed that you have to try to take actions to stay healthy, and, if you do, you can have anything else that you want.  My why for MCG then is to promote health.  How?  By finding or creating things that enhance a person's health and wellbeing.  For total health, you have to work on the health of the mind, body, and spirit.  The what?  Products that are geared towards mind, body, spirit, ... and crochet!  I really believe the crochet part covers all three aspects of health -- it's very meditative and relaxing to crochet, it's a physical activity, and the fruits of your labor can be shared in so many giving and charitable ways.

I'll be back with more insights into Mr. Sinek's book, but grab a copy for yourself, it will really keep you engaged and make you think!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Start With Why

I attended the best author reading yesterday.  Simon Sinek spoke about his book "Start With Why, How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to take Action."  Again, he was easy on the eyes :-) but his message truly is so important.  I've talked here about vision and how to formulate your own message, but really, the first step is to ask yourself "why?"  Why do you get up everyday?  Why do you love certain things?  Hard to articulate, right?!  That's because the why of our lives often comes from gut feelings and visceral reactions, which can be so hard to put into words.  But that's exactly what Mr. Sinek tries to do.  By giving examples of people and companies who are successful because they are able to capture and communicate their whys, Mr. Sinek helps articulate the true meaning behind business buzz phrases like "find your passion" and "being an authentic leader."  Definitely worth picking up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Where did the week go?!

Where did the week go?!  I'm glad it's Friday, but I had planned on posting, tweeting, etsying, and so much more this week ;-)  Oh, well, that's what Sunday will be all about...

I've got a new pattern up on Ravelry, for a cute little summer baby hat.  The prototype has gone off to a friend's niece as a baby shower gift.  We were originally aiming for a bamboo yarn baby blanket, but it took me a while to find a reasonably priced bamboo yarn for such a big project, and it still hasn't arrived in the mail yet.  We're thinking it might be a good Christmas present (and it turns out that a knitter gave the mother-to-be a blanket at the shower, so just as well!)

I'm hoping to post a couple of new projects up on Ravelry soon, but I've been working on the book projects with a fabulous graphic artist.  Really, if you need a graphic artist, I would highly recommend "SunnyD" on  It's a great service, actually -- you can go to elance and post a project and have lots of different service providers bid on it, or you can identify particular providers to give you an estimate for your job.

But, more on these projects later.  What thought will I leave you with tonight?  Mmmm, just get out there and take a break!  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our projects that we forget to play :-)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Clean Fifteen

So, we covered the Dirty Dozen last week.  Now, let's look at the Clean Fifteen -- the fruits and vegetables that are still relatively safe even if exposed to pesticides, so it's not necessarily worth spending extra to get organic versions of these:

Sweet corn
Sweet peas
Kiwi fruit
Sweet potatoes
Sweet onions

All of these have a thicker outer shell that helps protect them when exposed to pesticides, so when tested, they tend not to absorb or retain contaminants.

Ok, so get out there and start eating your fruits and veggies!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Business Ideas and a Crochet Keyboard Duster

What a clever idea!  I saw it and had to share:

I've got to give this project a try right away, as I stare at the little nasties that seem to have gotten into my keyboard.

Isn't it amazing how someone comes up with something so clever, and we just slap ourselves up side the head and say "why couldn't I have thought of that!?"  Well, there's no reason why you can't.  Often, such ideas come from just doing your normal day-to-day kinds of things, but keeping an open mind to whether a task can be accomplished in a different way or with an aid that will make it easier, faster, better somehow.  In fact, here's a fun but enlightening action item for you -- tomorrow, go through your normal routines, but instead of doing them almost unconsciously, think about them and see what variations you come up with.  This is often how small businesses that become big ones begin!  Good luck!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

Read a great article today about the fruits and vegetables to avoid because they are susceptible to pesticide contamination:

Here's a quick recap:

Domestic blueberries
Sweet bell peppers
Spinach, kale and collard greens
Imported grapes

Try to buy only organic from this list, and be sure to ask at the farmers' market to be sure that they haven't used pesticides -- surprisingly, one farmer said to me that she still uses pesticides, just not as much!