IC Accessories 2012 is almost here!

Just a few more days before Interweave Crochet Accessories 2012 hits the newsstands!! Are you ready? November 6th is the date!

I was SO excited to get a complimentary copy of the magazine, along with loose pages of my pattern in the mail. Now I just need to figure out how to frame them! Anybody have experience with or suggestions for properly displaying articles?

IC Accessories 2012 pages

It was fun looking through all the pictures that they took and seeing all the ways they played with color in their festive section. I rather liked my white and silver snowflakes on the white wreath, but putting the metallics on a blue wreath really makes them pop. And it was so much fun to make all the different colors!! I made a total of 12 in I think seven different colors. I prefer making the larger ones with size 3 or 5 thread, but the bitty ones (made with size 10, yikes!) are beautifully delicate.

IC also added a chart for them, which is awesome, but it’s also kind of confusing. :( I mean, look at this mess!

ic Accessories 2012 chart

If I didn’t know what I was looking at, I’m afraid the chart would intimidate me. Hopefully it helps with the visualization, though. It really isn’t so terrible as the chart makes it look… It takes me about an hour to work one up which is WAY quicker than any standard thread crochet snowflake I’ve ever made. The smaller ones can take a little longer because it’s more fiddly, but not much. Still less fiddly than my previous experiences with such projects, though. Which is why I came up with the design to begin with.

See, my mother used to make all of our Christmas ornaments and my favorites were the snowflakes. She added glitter to some of them and she also made this absolutely amazing multi-dimensional tree-topper. Wanting to have some of these little beauties of my own, I kept trying my hand at different thread crochet patterns with varying success. Eventually, I decided that the snowflake designs I tried were simply too piddly, so I set out to make my own.

With this snowflake, there are no slip stitches worked into the chain (which is the part that I find aggravatingly time consuming and finger cramping), PLUS you can modify the final design during the blocking and stiffening process. Simple chains are twisted to create the length and points of the arms, which pulls the crocheting together without having to work stitches into the chain. It also adds a textural element to compliment the star in the center.

Now if anything about this pattern is difficult, it’s the star. Its texture comes from post stitches and sometimes getting them worked into the right place can be a little tough, particularly when using the size 10 thread. That’s why I would recommend using larger thread the first time you try this pattern, just to see how it works more easily. The last point of the star is the tricky one, but it’s absolutely worth it.

snowflake wreath

I’d love to hear what you think of the pattern, so if you give it a try, let me know how it goes and I would absolutely love to see pictures! You can link in the comments here or find me on Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. And, of course, if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to holler for help. :)



Wait… have I not shared this with you!?

Okay. I know I’ve been slacking on the blogging lately, but I really have to share this with you – even though it’s something from way earlier this year.

See, I sculpted, in crochet, an Arkansas razorback hog. Oh yes. This is where I’m from. We are maniacal hog fans back home. And one of my girlfriends from high school requested that I crochet a piggy for her hubby as a wedding gift. I thought, “Sure!” there’s got to be hog patterns out there, right? Ha! I was SO disappointed. So what did I do? I decided to sculpt one. Freestyle. Wingin’ it, if you will. It was an exercise in patience, creativity, and vision. That’s right. Vision. I had to SEE where I was crocheting. Have you ever tried this? Ack! It’s intimidating. And I had lots of frogging moments (ripping it out so I could re-do it, over and over and over again), but by golly I DID it!

And yes, if you can’t tell, I’m rather proud of my little razorback. No, there isn’t a pattern. I started trying to kind of keep notes on how it went. … But I re-worked so many parts of it that it was hard to keep up with and I was a little concerned that I’d encounter troubles with their trademark rights, so I decided it would simply be a one-of-a-kind piece of art. You hear that, Amber? Lol. It was, though. It was a labor of love. Art. Fiber Arts!

It just so happened that we were late for the wedding (only maybe five minutes, but everybody was GONE!) which afforded me the opportunity to take some pretty awesome pictures of it on her grandparents’ farm. So while they were off in the fields getting hitched, here was what I was doing:

arkansas razorback hog

arkansas razorback hog

arkansas razorback hog

arkansas razorback hog

I’m sure it was a beautiful ceremony – I do always enjoy country weddings, especially when there’s great scenery – but I’m also kind of glad that I got to take these shots. They were so much better than anything I could have done anywhere else besides on a farm in Arkansas.

So, “Woo pig sooie!!” and congratulations to a very dear friend of mine on her wonderful wedding, even though we missed it!

Stellar Snowflakes in Interweave Crochet!

That’s right, folks! I am PUBLISHED! Interweave Crochet Accessories 2012, page 125: Stellar Snowflakes by Connie Lee. Hooray!!

The magazine won’t hit newsstands until November 6th, but it is available for purchase as a hard copy to have shipped (I’m not sure if it’ll arrive before the 6th or not) to you or as a digital download through CrochetMe.com There are over 50 patterns in this issue, so be sure to check them out here!

It also has its very own Ravelry page already, so pop on over to take a look and add it to your queue. You can also see my original versions as they’re linked as a project. Here’s my favorite picture, though (that I took):

And the wreath that I made, which is what inspired the main project photo:


There should also be a page with more information on blocking and starching, but as of today it just says “coming soon” so if you have any questions, just holler! Hopefully they’ll get it updated soon, though – I’m interested to see what their advice is.

I am absolutely tickled pink about this achievement (in case you can’t tell!) and I am anxious as all get out to get my hands on a copy of the magazine! Or two or three – my mother will want one, too, of course! But I have to wait patiently and resist buying the digital edition just so I can see the final layout. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to wait, though – November 6th is almost two weeks away still… :( Patience is a virtue, though, right? And despite my affinity for piddly little crafts like thread crochet, I really don’t have that much of it! So wish me luck and let me know what you think when you get YOUR copies of this season’s IC Accessories!

Ooh and here’s the pinkalicious one, too. ;) Perfect for Breast Cancer awareness!

The Birth Story of My First Design

Back in early 2010, I started working on a pattern idea. It turned out to be my first serious attempt at design – and it was a doozy! Up until then I’d select a stitch or two and then turn it into a scarf or a blanket. It was always something rectangular, though! At the time I didn’t think I’d ever tackle anything that didn’t have straight edges, but eventually I did, of course. The idea for this design, though, kind of came out of nowhere. I hadn’t made a conscious decision to try my hand at designing; it just sort of popped into my head.

I spent hours fiddling with swatches and charts. And hours and hours. It started out as something fairly simple: leaves on either side of a vine. Then it had to have a border of some sort. Then the leaves were too puny. Then they were too fat. Finally I decided they needed to be asymmetrical. Oh boy! Talk about biting off more than I could chew!

With a lot of patience and perseverance, though, I did eventually figure out something that suited me. More or less.

It was wider than I really wanted, though… So I went after its edges and worked on trimming those down a bit. I’m a big fan of post stitches because they add a nice textural element. I loved the way the center vine curved with the leaves and I wanted that mirrored in the border, but having too much seemed to take away from the center path of leaves.

So some of the texture had to go. It was complicated enough already, though, so I really didn’t miss it once I settled on a layout and started working it. However, this was by far the smallest hook and yarn I’d used for a scarf before and it was taking me absolutely forever to make the thing. Adding the beads seemed to make it take way longer, too, and after a while I got really tired of it. But when I decided to stop, I realized I had no idea how to finish it off! I fiddled around with it for a while and then just gave up. I put it away, this, my first design, in a dark little hole somewhere and gave up on it.

Next thing I know it’s autumn and that dadgum scarf is still sitting in a corner somewhere, unfinished. All it needed was an end. So I sat down and just did it. Of course, it ended up being something that was essentially the same as what I’d tried before I gave plumb up on it, so its summer hibernation was unnecessary. Oh well. At least it was done!

I gave it a nice bath (or two, trying to soften it up some) and blocking really opened it up nicely. Ultimately, I was pleased with the results. Still a little unsatisfied with the ends, but they weren’t terrible. We had a really great photo shoot with much thanks to the sunny day and after finishing my photo editing, I was truly pleased with my work. It made me smile. Maybe even giggle a little. This was my first design. Realized in rich autumn colors. With beads! It was a good day.

I got it listed it in my studio for sale even though I wasn’t really sure I wanted to sell it and then I went to work on prettying up my chart. What I needed was some software, I knew, but I couldn’t find anything that I could afford, so Excel it was. Good grief did that take forever! First I had to “draw” the symbols and then it was copy and paste, copy and paste, copy and paste. It was way too tedious. But I knew I needed an electronic copy so I wouldn’t lose it and my hand drawn one wasn’t nearly as neat as I wanted, despite the graph paper.

After even more patience and time, it finally came together. Another good day. Even if it was an exhausting one.

I’d started using Ravelry by then and so I posted pictures on there once I had them. It got a couple little hearts and a couple of comments – could I post the pattern? Uh oh. Well, I had the chart, but I wasn’t sure it would make sense to anybody but me. Written directions? On a six row repeat? I’d never written out instructions for anything I’d crocheted before and the thought was truly intimidating. So I didn’t. I felt selfish, but I just couldn’t do it. I guess I wasn’t ready.

Of course, I’m still not sure if I’m ready! But a couple weeks ago I finally sat down and tackled it. I’ve posted a few simple patterns here on my blog and I’ve really enjoyed sharing those for free, but this one? This one has had dibs on the title of my first pattern for sale since its conception. I’ve just been too chicken to do it.

This year is gonna be different, though. I’m going to stop being afraid of succeeding and I’m just going to DO it. Starting with this pattern right here. Okay, actually it started with me submitting a pattern to Interweave Crochet at the beginning of January, but I think that was half so I didn’t have to write up a real pattern for it… I couldn’t have it stealing the first pattern for sale spotlight, though, right? So we’ll see where that goes. And we’ll see where this goes, too!

I decided that I needed to work up the pattern again – make sure it makes sense so I’m not blindly writing instructions – and so I chose to make a new version of the scarf, more heavily beaded, that I could submit to this year’s Vanna’s Choice Contest. I selected Vanna’s Glamour in Diamond, which is white with a strand of metallic silver, and pearlescent white glass beads, seeking a frosty, wintry look. And so I set to work.

Approximately 15 hours (not including all the swatching and photography of course) and 370 beads later, I have a new and maybe even more beautiful scarf.

At approximately 6′ long and just over 4″ wide, this scarf is perfect for wearing both long and flowing as well as double wrapped for added warmth. Worn either way, it truly is an elegant accessory.

23 hours ahead of the deadline, which is impressive for this diehard procrastinator, I submitted photos for the Vanna’s Choice Contest. Whew! But now it’s time to finish that pattern. So wish me luck and stay tuned for the upcoming release of my very first design!