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Preview: addicted to alpaca

addicted to alpaca

An avid knitter/crocheter's attempt to make pretty much everything in her life relate to one or the other.

Updated: 2018-03-05T23:45:41.034-08:00


Snow Day!


So Winter Storm Hercules came to visit. There is a fair amount of snow - 5" or so - but nothing those of us in the Northeast haven't successfully lived through several times before.

LL had no school today which is awesome because neither one of us are morning people by nature, and we tend to go feral during long school breaks by staying up until 1 or 2 am, then waking up at 9 or 10 am. At least now we have the weekend to try to get back to school schedule. For six more months. I cannot believe she is getting ready to graduate from high school. What a big year for changes 2014 will be!

Other than that though, it's amazing how my brain works on snow days. Snow Day! I can sit inside and drink hot chocolate and knit and crochet and write patterns all day! Yay! The thing is, I work from home - so other than the unreasonable hot chocolate craving a snow day isn't really all that much different from any other winter day. It's not like I commute anywhere on a daily basis. A snow day just means I don't have to wake up early, and I can't run out to Staples for printer ink.

But still - Snow Day! Yay! I think it's a response ingrained from childhood. You folks that grew up in warmer climates will never know the joy of that instant holiday feeling. Sorry about that...

Be safe and enjoy the breaks that Mother Nature gives you!

Crabby New Year!


I find myself generally annoyed at this time of year - every year - and I haven't quite figured out why.

Christmas overload? Unhappiness with progress during the year that's about to end? Twenty million emails about sales before Christmas, followed by twenty million more advertising post-Christmas sales? Not sure... but I am ready for it to be January already.

Coming up? TNNA and CHA. I am not sure whose bright and shining idea it was to schedule both trade shows the same damned weekend in the same damned state but a two hour drive apart, but there you have it. At least I don't have to fly to California twice? So I will be in California from 1/19 - 1/15, toodling back and forth between Anaheim and San Diego. The upside I am looking forward to is that all of this driving time increases the likelihood that I will be able to eat In N' Out burgers, with any luck more than once. It does cut into my hanging out with friends and talking about yarn time, but I am trying to be very good about scheduling this time so I don't miss too much.

Are you a yarn/craft/distributor/catalog type and need to see me? Please email me and let me know so I make sure we can do that!

Most recent magazine placement? These luscious crocheted plaid pillows in Knit Simple, Winter 2013 issue.
Photo Credit : (c) Jack Deutsch

I am pretty pleased with myself about how they came out. I have been experimenting with various ways to make surface crochet easier for people to do, and the plaids (there were three - maybe one fell off the bed?) take advantage of cleverly placed ch-1 sps so your lines are perfectly straight, and your stitches are perfectly even.

Most recent Hooked for Life pattern? Actually there are a few more coming out soon but the one that seems to be getting the most buzz is Mosaic Tile Wrap. (that's a link to the Ravelry page, nothing scary!)

Photo credit: (C) Mary Beth Temple for Hooked for Life

Mitered squares, tons of richly colored Koigu KPPPM in five colors, and it's currently gracing the cover of the December update of the Patternworks catalog. I am pleased by this for two reasons - one, cover; two - crochet on the cover! I am much less of a crochet activist than I used to be but I do get my hooky jollies on every now and again when I feel like crochet has made an inroad or two into the gen pop.

Can you believe that's Little Loopy modeling? She is going to college in the Fall of 2014 - wow, right?

2014 Resolution #1 - If your book is not for the benefit of a charity I support, or you aren't a close friend, I will not be contributing anything. Life is too short for multi-author books.

2014 Resolution #2 - I want to get my mailing list/newsletter back up and running. Stay tuned to see if I make any progress!

Wishing you and yours a Happy (not Crabby) New Year!

Knowledge is power


There has been a fair amount of activity over on the Designers forum at, tossing about the idea of a union. Again. The last time I posted on that forum it lead to death threats. That is not hyperbole. I do not post on that forum any more. But I have a few things to say on the issue (ok a lot of things but I will try to edit down to a few) so here they are, in no particular order.I am pro-union. I grew up in a union household, and I was a proud member of TWU Local 764 for many years, where I was honored to be selected by my peers to serve as a shop steward and a member of a contract negotiating team. I am not tossing around the words 'proud' and 'honored' lightly - my union years were an important part of who I am today. I do not think a designers' union is a good idea for a variety of reasons, which if listed would take me well out of the edited post ballpark so I won't go on and on. But here's the biggie.When I was a union member, the people who spoke on my behalf were people that I trusted, people that my peers and I had elected to speak for us, people that had gained the respect of the people on both sides of the negotiating table by acting responsibly, even through disagreements, even through the occasional scream-fest. There are several people posting on that thread who I would not trust to give me directions to the corner grocery store, let alone have a voice in how I run my business. No I won't say who they are - and they probably aren't who you are guessing. That's not the issue. The issue is before you follow someone into an endeavor that will take a lot of time and money and brain-space away from your own business and your own life, make sure that person is worth following. Do some research, don't just skim the threads and think you are making an informed choice. Follow who you like, but know who that is. Your name and reputation are at stake.OK well maybe it's not a union, it's an association or guild or society. I have a little experience there too. I am a past member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Membership there is something that one aspires to - the barrier for entry is high. That's as it should be. It was not formed to educate aspirants (although there is a lot of education that happens once you are a member), and it was not formed to bring new people into the industry. It was and is a membership organization that self-selects to high standards, for people who are working professionals, who can then interact with either other and the industry at large to the betterment of all.That's not the kind of society I see being talked about. I see a society or guild or union or whatever that pretty much anyone can join so it doesn't seem 'elitist', and that whoever screams the loudest - or has the most free time - will wind up leading. How do you think an organization like that will benefit the design community? More to the point, how do you think an organization like that won't actively hurt us as a whole by making us look like a collective of excitable idiots?But back to the knowledge is power theme of this entry. I have heard over and over again that established designers don't share financial information because they are afraid of retribution from the big bad publishers. I call bullshit. I see people, new people trying to run a business in the needlearts industry and I tell them all kinds of things. I overshare. I'll tell you anything you want to know if I think you are running or trying to run a legitimate business, whether full time or part time, whether focused on traditional publishing or indie publishing. I worked hard and spent a lot of money and time acquiring my extensive network of contacts and information. I am not posting the results of that effort for all to see - but I am happy to share with those I look forward to working with as colleagues. If that's elitist I can live with that. Anyway, believe it or not I DID edit this post down! And I hope that discussion on Ravelry and here and wherever else leads to some[...]

Back in the saddle!


Trying to get back in the blogging habit. I know I have said this in the past, but as Twitter (where I am @Hooked4Life) is getting me back into communicating with like-minded people mode, I find that sometimes I have things to say that 140 characters - or even 280! - can't quite cover.

In today's news, it is officially official that I will be teaching at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago, November 1 - 3, 2013. Here is a link to the save-the-date flyer - as you can see, I will be in great company.

I am very excited by this - I have had many great teaching experiences in the Chicagoland area and am so pleased to be going again with the Vogue crew!

Look out for my newest class offering - and all day Irish Crochet workshop, aimed at finding modern uses for traditional techniques. Allergic to thread crochet? Come anyway and work in yarn - it's really going to be a joint exploration and a judgement free zone.

Speaking of Chicagoland - I was there last weekend and all I did was eat (well, and teach - hello to Northern Illinois CGOA!). I tried local legends Walker Bros for pancakes, a fabulous Tapas place,

for deep dish pizza and a really terrific salad, and
for Chicago-style hotdogs. My hosts were greatly amused that I kept pronouncing the latter in the manner of someone who speaks Spanish, Por-tee-yos, instead of how it's spelled, which is what the locals call it. Of course I have issue with people who call the basketball team the Boston SSSSSSeltics, when it should be KKKKKeltics for God's sake!

See you soon?

New year, new patterns.


Ok, it's February but January was a bear of a month with tons of things to do - like Vogue Knitting Live in NYC, closely followed by TNNA which was in Phoenix this year.

For VKL, I designed a pair of luscious fingerless gloves in Tosh Sock, in a beautiful colorway called Midnight in Manhattan which is only available via The Yarn Company in NYC. They are beaded and embellished with silk ribbons, but the actual stitching is fairly simple so don't get put off by how complicated they look! The lovely Tavy from The Yarn Company had a great time wearing them at the show - they got quite a bit of attention.

The Fanciful Gauntlets pattern is available via your local yarn store (if you are a local yarn store, you can order from Bryson Distributing!) Patternfish or Ravelry , $6.00 retail.

What else is going on? Working on trying to blog more regularly, again :-), hauling LL around to every Irish dance event within a million miles now that she is back in fighting form, and working on a million magazine projects now that the book is done. And oh yeah, now that the book is done I have to start thinking about PR for it! It won't be in your hands until September but I promise you it is worth the wait! I saw the cover at TNNA and it looks terrific. If you wanted to see the cover too, you should follow me on Twitter as @Hooked4Life . Even when I am slow about blogging and don't do new podcasts anymore, I am a pretty prolific tweeter.

OK, lots more to say but I am going to pace myself. My first blog post back in a month should probably not be the size of my last book! Later 'gators!

First project of 2012!


On New Year's Day I took up the challenge issued by crochet supporter and good friend Laura Krzak, and spent part of the day making a chemo cap to donate. I chose Halos of Hope because the president, Pam Haschke, had done a really interesting episode of Getting Loopy with me - you can hear it here.

I grabbed a skein of pretty blue LB Collection Cotton Bamboo from the stash and a G/7/4.5mm hook and went to town. I also used an F/5/3.75mm hook for the single crochet edge.

For those of you who asked when I tweeted pix (I am @Hooked4Life), I didn't use a pattern but quick made one up. Here it is, in one size. If you wanted to quick size it up, you could use a bigger yarn and hooks, or add 1 sc to the first rnd which would add several stitches to the finished brim as you increase for the crown.

I got about 3.75 dcs to the inch in dc, the cap as 17" around unstretched (I wanted it small since bamboo grows and Pam said smaller is better than larger) and about 6" in height from the end of the crown increases to the edge of the brim. I used well under one skein of yarn. I don't know that I could get two whole hats from one skein but there is a lot left over.

Halos of Hope Chemo Cap

Ch 4, join into a ring with sl st in 1st ch.

Rnd 1: 7 sc in ring. Join rnd with sl st in 1st st. 7 sc
Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in same sc as sl st, 2 dc in each sc around. Join rnd with sl st in top of beg-ch. 14 dc
Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in same sc as sl st, 2 dc in each dc around. Join rnd with sl st in top of beg-ch. 28 dc
Rnd 4:Ch 3, dc in same dc as sl st, dc in next sc, *2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc. Rep from * around. Join rnd with sl st in top of beg-ch. 42 dc
Rnd 5: Ch 3, dc in same dc as sl st, dc in each of next 2 next dc, *2 dc in next dc, dc in each of next 2 dc. Rep from * around. Join rnd with sl st in top of beg-ch. 56
Rnd 6:Ch 3, dc in same dc as sl st, dc in each of next 3 sc, *2 dc in next dc, dc in each of next 3 dc. Rep from * around. Join rnd with sl st in top of beg-ch. 70 dc
Rnds 7 - 19: Ch 3, dc in each dc around. Join rnd with sl st in top of beg-ch. 70 dc.
Rnds 20 - 22: Change to F/5/3.75 hook. Sc in each st around. I did not join the rounds but worked in a spiral so it would be neater. End off.

With larger hook, ch 6, join into ring with sl st in first ch.
Rnd 1: Ch 1, work 12 sc in ring. join rnd with sl st in 1st sc. 12 sc
Rnd 2: Sc in same st as sl st, ch 3, * sk 1 sc, sc in next sc, ch 3. Rep from * around, join rnd with sl st in 1st sc. 6 ch-3 loops
Rnd 3: (Sc, hdc, 3 dc, hdc, sc) in each ch-3 loop around. Join rnd with sl st in 1st st. End off.

Attach flower to hat carefully so that your stitching is mostly on the outside of the hat - we don't want bumps inside! Weave in all ends. If you have pets or the yarn is as all musty, wash it in UNSCENTED cleaner like Soak before you send it!

Happy New Year to you all - enjoy this pattern, and please consider making one to donate to the charity of your choice!

This pattern is my New Year's gift to you, but please don't steal it, sell it, print two billion copies, or generally be a jerk about it. You may absolutely link to this post from any blog or forum. Thank you.

Bits of thoughts


But here I am with time to blog, and no camera to hand, so I am going with the fact that it's probably better to get a post up than not, despite the lack of eye candy.

Oh wait - a crappy picture is better than none, right?

Look! It's my thumb, but also LL holding a first place trophy! Woo-freaking-hoo LL! If she earns two more of those before May 1 2012, she will be eligible for 2012 North American Nationals in Chicago in July. Here's hoping!

In other news, may I introduce you to some chocolate that is perhaps the most divine chocolate I have ever eaten, ever? And I have eaten a lot of chocolate! It is raw, gluten- and dairy-free, ecologically sensitive, and screw all of that, it tastes divine. The name of the company is Gnosis and it gets the MBT seal of approval. I tasted it at the Chocolate Expo at the Meadowlands about ten days ago and wish I hadn't cheaped out but had bought some more. It is not a bargain by any stretch but it was so delicious a square at a time was enough, so the smallish bar I bought lasted three days which is practically unheard of at my house. I had the Fleur de Sel flavor but am looking forward to trying more.

We went to Chocolate Expo so LL could meet Buddy Velastro of Cake Boss fame. She did, he was charming, and I will talk more about that when I am near the camera because I actually did get some good pictures of them together.

In other news, in case you hadn't heard, I decided to stop producing new episodes of Getting Loopy. I am at peace with the decision, but last night I didn't quite know what to do with myself around 8:00 PM on a Monday night. I kept feeling like I was missing something - that I should be somewhere else! But I will get used to it. You can still download all the archived episodes at ITunes, now and forever, but I will be dismembering the GL website and premium account at BTR shortly before the end of the year.

Working hard on some new submissions, waiting to hear on the fate of some others, and have many many new patterns coming out in the Hooked for Life pattern line soon. Sometimes change is good!

Odd ponderings


I have a Fedex account that I use all the time - ground for delivering print patterns and samples when I am actually ahead of schedule, and of course express in all its flavors when I am hot on the trail of a deadline, which is pretty often.

I have two locations that I use frequently for drop-0ff - at one the last truck out is 4:30, at the other it's 8:00. I prefer the earlier one because the location is closer and it has a parking lot, but sometimes those extra few hours count.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a new-to-me location, about halfway between my two usual haunts, with a 5:30 last truck. I had a box ready to go between 4 and 5 so I thought I would give it a shot. It was a newer location with untrained staff and the woman on duty had never seen my pre-paid ground labels before and was worried about whether she was handling them properly on her end, so I left her my cell phone number and suggested she call me with any problems.

About 20 minutes later the phone rang - it was the manager at this drop-off location. He was grilling me about the label - kept asking me if it was new, and saying that if I had peeled it off another package it wouldn't work. I was sort of offended by this line of questioning - did he think I was trying to scam Fedex somehow? - but assured him it was a regular label from my long time account and he should just send it on. All was well, the package went out, but I decided not to use that drop-off anymore because it just bugged me.

Last night I dashed to my usual haunt, racing to beat the 8:00 PM deadline (yea baby, made it with six minutes to spare!), then figured since I was in town I would run a couple of errands before I went home. Strolling through the drug store, I caught a look at myself in one of the display mirrors - messy hair, wrinkle clothes that I clearly just threw on at the last minute, shoes inapropriate for the weather that I just grabbed because they were by the door, and a general harried, not quite put together look about me.

And the lightbulb went on - maybe that's why the manager at the new location was so concerned that I had stolen or was trying to mis-use a pre-paid label! When I am that close to a deadline I am just trying to get the work done, not really worrying about what I look like to the outside world. He probably took one look at me dashing through and assumed I couldn't possibly be a responsible business owner! It occured to me that even my regular guy only sees me at my worst!

He shouldn't have judged me by my appearance, but now I feel like someday I should go to all of my regular drop-off spots when I am put together and not rushing, just to let them know that I am not always a crazed harridan with yarn clippings falling out of my pockets.

Back to the wool mines -

Interestingly enough...


I thought with all of the podcasting I do, that I was sort of done with blogging. I always felt pressure to be clever on cue, blog regularly, have adorable pictures, what have you, so blogging always felt like a chore instead of a joy.

A year or so ago I found Twitter and loved it - still do! I got in the habit of sharing my thoughts with people again. 140 characters was perfect - no pressure! No pictures needed! I could write when I felt like it, publish in seconds, and not have it take up any space in my already crowded brain.

And I still write patterns by the dozen, and a new book is almost finished, and I did some videos for a video company, and a bunch of guest blogs and articles, and I am blessed to have as much work or more than I can handle. But I realized recently that I don't write for me anymore, or at least not more than 140 characters at a time.

So here I am, back where all this crafty stuff started, at the Alpaca Addict blog. With a gratuitous alpaca picture for you all. I am not promising anything here to anyone but myself - but when I have stories to tell, here is where I am going to tell them!

BTW, my friends above are on the Silken Suri Alpaca Ranch in Colorado, which I visited the week before last. Shortly thereafter, LL and I got stuck in Denver due to Hurricane Irene. Interestingly enough, the last post I wrote here detailed how I had gotten stuck in St. Louis due (image) to a canceled flight. Clearly, I fly too much :-)

Sorry guys -


I have to put comment moderation on - getting hit with tons of comment spam since I started posting again and that bugs me!

Still in St. Louis - the trip was great, but the airline dropped the ball and I couldn't leave tonight as expected. Home tomorrow though, then vacation from the 20th through the 27th of July.

Well sort of vacation - not much internet and no podcast and no appointments, but I did have some yarn for a deadline shipped directly to the hotel so I can make a model for a magazine while I am there!

Thanks to all of you here in Missouri who made my trip so terrific!

Look, I am a star - who knew?


My buddy Marly of Yarnthing podcast fame always does the grunt work to put together a dinner at TNNA for designers, editors, and other yarny folks. I walked over to the event with Barb Bettegnies, editor of Creative Knitting magazine.

Guess what made her newsletter this week? Click here to read all about it!

While you are clicking around, please do me a favor and check out the needlepoint contest entries at Gone Stitching. Eleven canvases are entered, including mine (pssst, it's number 10!), and this is the people's choice award - real judging will happen later in the summer. And I know I don't have a prayer there, thus my inappropriate internet begging for votes.

Truthfully I won't even mind (much) if you vote for someone else. But we are trying to get some web traffic over there for the sponsors, Gone Stitching and Planet Earth Fiber, so that more people will enter next year. I have to think that anyone with even vaguely needlepoint-ish aspirations will look at my entry and think "Hey, I could beat her next year!"

I know, another post with no photos. But I am working on that, I promise!

This week I am in Missouri, teaching at A New Yarn in Springfield on Thursday, and Kirkwood Knittery in St. Louis. I believe there are a few spots left in each of my classes, so if you are in the area, check them out!

So many miles to go before I stitch :-)


So TNNA was great fun as it often is, and as usual for me, I didn't manage to take many photos. Ok, I didn't manage to take ANY photos. And despite the overriding "What happens at TNNA stays at TNNA" ethos that prevails - well, I need to talk about something on this here blog, lest the lovely Sarah (who is helping out at Chez Loopy) get more annoyed with me than she is already!

Thankfully, my good buddy and editor-in-chief of Creative Knitting magazine) Barb Bettegnies beat me to the punch with at least part of the weekend - and you can read all about the Sunday night party here!

Columbus was quite a long trip for me - five days at TNNA, followed by five more at the Knitters Connection show - but at least there was Jeni's Ice Cream to get me through the fortnight away from home.

To make up for my lack of photography, here is a great shot taken by Jess and Casey of fame - The Portals Scarf was made in Creative Juices yarn from Soak, with colors inspired by Ravelry. The pattern is available on Ravelry, of course!

OK - back to work drinking beer and writing patterns. Well, only the pattern writing part is work, the beer drinking is totally recreational...

A Brief Public Service Announcement


THIS is what happens when you accidentally throw a couple of yards of sock yarn into the washer and dryer. A tangled mess of one linen shirt, one bra, and three pairs of flannel pajama bottoms.(image)
Surgery was needed, all clothing survived, although with interesting twisty patterns dried in.

Just one more reason why crocheters and knitters need to check their pockets before laundry day!

Some new pretties!


(image) This is the new Crochet Christmas Gift Card Holders set, available at The $3 pattern includes the mini-stocking, Santa's mitten, ornament, and my personal favorite, the peppermint stick. Make one up quickly to add a little happy to a gift of a gift card or cash.

(image) Have you seen the Beaded Thistle Shawl? It's crocheted in a lightweight acrylic/mohair blend called Swiss Mohair, which will be available to the world in January of 2010. Can't wait? Try my kit!
(image) The kit includes the pattern, one skein (600 yards) of the yarn in one of your choice of six colors, glass beads with an aurora borealis/pale pink finish, and a #10 steel hook with which to attach the beads as you crochet, because hell hath no fury like trying to string a skillion beads on mohair yarn! There is even a nice little beading photo tutorial on the back of the pattern! All this for $19.99 plus $5.50 shipping and handling in the US - out of US residents need to hit me with an email for shipping rates. The full details are here - all six colors are currently in stock, but may not be for long.

How are you all doing with your holiday knitting and crocheting? I am still trying to get some deadline stuff finished....

Greetings from Chez Crazy Person


(image) First off, a gift to you from - my newest knitted shawl pattern. It's available as a free download here - enjoy! It starts at the center of the upper edge and grows as you stitch, so you can adjust the length/width to your desired dimensions - or call it a mini-shawl if you run out of time before the holidays, run out of yarn, or simply get bored!

So I am doing my annual crazy person routine - deadlines, the holidays, trying to get new things out and ready for TNNA which has the nerve to be in early January every year. It's like Christmas - I know it's coming, I know I have a ton to do, but I never seem to get it all done in a timely fashion. Add in the new kits I am working on (photos soon) and all the every day stuff, and it's crazy. Which I know I say a lot. But it is.

Anyway, I was out running errands the other day and came home to find my neighbor/buddy/fellow yarn addict plopped on my living room floor, playing with the dog. This is a good thing. I apologize for being rushed and am chatting with her as I fly through to the dining room, where the laptop was sitting, so I can check for an email I am waiting for.

Since she is sitting on the floor, she points and laughs at my mis-matched feet. Yes, I reply, I know my socks don't match, but I am so crazed I haven't had time to do laundry and at least they are both clean, which I thought was more important...blah blah blah on my part. She is still laughing. And pointing. So I look down and see that MY SHOES DON'T MATCH EITHER!

Seriously, I went out of the house and ran errands for two hours with two different shoes on AND DID NOT NOTICE! At least they were both black.


In which I am vaguely amused...


Sorry for no pix this week - it's been a rough week here. LL mangled a tendon and cannot dance in the Irish dance regional finals next week, which she has been working towards all year. We are both very sad about this, as is her new coach whom I adore, but at the end of the day she doesn't have much choice. When you are 13 though, "there's always next year" seems like the worst sort of platitude. But there is - there is always next year, even if the poor kid thinks it will never come.

On the upside - she is getting more sleep and I am getting more work done.

With all of this emo sort of background going on you will see why I was way more amused by this morning's pattern writing adventure than I might normally have been. I wrote:

"Rep Rows 9 and 10 for pattern until work measures 6" from underarm BO"

Underarm BO - hee!

I changed the wording to start of underarm shaping....

A brief commercial announcement!


New patterns, new signings, I promise this won't turn into blog o' ads, but there's what's happening Chez Alpaca Addict.This pattern is called Cushy. It's a slightly slouchy hat and wide, dense scarf, made in a pattern of front post and back post treble crochets. The yarn is new from Rozetti and is called Spark - it's a worsted weight with - it's hard to describe but I love it - it has some shiny stuff in it that gives it a textural look, but it's not too glittery for my taste. Mouse over any of the colors in the link for a close up to see what I mean. Dense visual interest in the yarn, dense crochet stitch pattern = good looking and warm!This is the Reticulated Tank Top Shown in Universal Yarns Cotton Supreme - I envisioned it as a summer layering piece, but the lovely Julia at Patternfish just suggested I try one in something woolier so it isn't so seasonally dependent. So that's what I will do - stay tuned. This crochets up incredibly quickly, is worked in four pieces side to side, with a decorative join center front and back, and at both side seams. I have to go stash diving...Next we have the Mutable Wrap! Shown in Universal Yarn Linen Tweed this oversized lacy crocheted shawl has two slit in the work - you can wear it as a vest, a wrap (as shown) or a poncho/capelet (which LL wants you to know was her idea, she came up with it during the photo shoot!) More photos on the pattern listing.Going to Rhinebeck? Please come see me Sunday from 10 - 4 at the author area in building B - where the Gem and Mineral Show used to be.Then at Stitches East, I will be signing books on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 - 1:30 with my good buddy Marci at The Elegant Ewe. Marci will also have Hooked for Life patterns for sale, and models to paw.Yarn just arrived for a big magazine project that's due soon - I am off to search Hulu for great tv shows and to crochet my face off. See you all soon![...]

Putting my money where my mouth is...


I was complaining last week on the Getting Loopy blog about my classes at WEBS maybe being canceled – and yup, yesterday they were. Not enough sign ups to cover costs, which I get. But it was killing me to give up the opportunity to teach a new class. Sooooo….

I ran this by the fabulous Kathy Elkins and this is what we decided to do. I will teach a class FOR FREE on Friday October 2 from 10 – 12. It is a new class I have in development called Design it Yourself Crochet – here’s the blurb-

Join author and designer Mary Beth Temple for the free debut of her newest workshop – Design It Yourself Crochet. Even if they don’t want to design for publication, many crocheters want to design a project for themselves. While most are happy just doodling with their hooks until they get the results they want, doing just a little preparation ahead of time will make the whole process so much easier – while ensuring that you don’t run out of yarn OR patience!

Handout with class notes included. If you like, bring some sketches, swatches, pencil and paper and/or a calculator to play with.

This class is not free to Kathy and I to put on, but we will offer it to you for free. Why? Because I want crocheters to come to the store, just to prove that we are out there. Because I need the practice and some input on the new class. Because I would like to teach at WEBS later on and get paid for it, so this is sort of a free sample. Because I have books there to sell, so if you like the free class, you might buy a book. Because I have been rambling about including free things in my business plan, and this is a great experiment. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to you guys why we are being so generous, we just are!

So if you can make it, please come. I will sign books at the store Thursday evening October 1 if you just want to come by and say hello, and I will teach the FREE class on Friday morning from 10 – 12.

And help me spread the word – blog it, link it, tweet it – let’s get some cool crochet mojo happening!

Llama kisses :-)


This is Wisteria, New Jersey's tallest llama. She is a real sweetie and SO soft. Here she is sharing some quality time with her owner, whose name, sadly, I did not get. She is stooping down to reach him, she is THAT tall! That was at the Garden State Sheep Breeders' show a couple of weeks back. We had such a great time there - can hardly wait for next year!

Busy, busy as usual. Finished up a large editing project, blasting out some new patterns for Hooked for Life, doing the Getting Loopy podcast, and making some models for upcoming magazine and multi-author book projects. Come next spring, I will have stuff everywhere!

LL blew out her ankle - again - on Sunday. Not too terrible this time, but annoying nonetheless as it delays her training for the Irish dance regionals in November. Think maybe THIS time she will be more motivated to do her PT exercises? Me either!

Will post some pattern pictures later in the week as they become available, happy stitching meanwhile!

Lexie Barnes storms Fashion Week with yarn !


With a tiny bit of help from yours truly. Ms. Lexie of the wonderful bags had an idea and she made it work. She wanted to show the denizens of NYC Fashion Week that knitting was cool. So she rented a suite at the Bryant Park Hotel, and offered to show media and model types alike how to knit an I cord bracelet. So I offered to help... That's me, hanging out on the couch, starting up some wee I-cords with Cotton Classic from Tahki/Stacy Charles, so that anyone could pick up and knit a few stitches without having to learn how to cast on. Lexie figured (rightly as it turned out) that most people who dropped by were unable to spend too much time with us, so pre-started projects were the way to go.Coffee, knitting, a comfy couch, natural light - it was a good day for me :-)Lexie and I discussed getting some crochet in there too, but figured choices were bad. Since she had spent a bucket of cash on this (with a little help from, she and her PR savvy colleagues felt (and I agreed) that we had to get out one message and one message only, and that adding crochet might muddle the message a bit. Still...I had my hooks with me and I couldn't resist the temptation :-) The PR folks were trying to do some yarny tie-backs for the hotel curtains and tying a full skein didn't look nice, but neither did one strand. "I can fix that for you" I cried and with my trusty H hook, I whomped out a dozen neat little chains to use. They looked great in the room, if I do say so myself.That's one of Lexie's new fabrics visible in the first photo - not available until spring, but you get a teeny little sneak peek! I am sure Lexie will blog more about the event when she gets home (and gets a nap) but my two celebrity sightings were -I shared an elevator with Jon Gosselin of Jon Plus or Minus Kate + 8 fame (or infamy). I had read in some periodical or other that he wanted something to do with the fashion world, and here he was - doing what (other than trying desperately not to make eye contact with strangers) I have no idea.I also passed an actress I admire in the hallway outside of the Nintendo suite (where they were showing an incredibly cool fashion game for the DSi that even I would play!) - Reshma Shetty of Royal Pains. We did not interact, but I am delighted to report that she is as lovely and graceful in real life as she is on the show!LL was miffed she didn't get to go - darn that going to school stuff always getting in the way!I have been ranting about some crochet related things - check the Getting Loopy blog for that if you are so inclined.[...]

Help! I am being eaten by a giant afghan!


(image) OK, not really, but this is the only photo I had to share this week, and I hate to do posts without photos!

That is a giant afghan though - I can tell you just how big it is because I made every blessed stitch of it! Kitchen Sink afghan from DIY (Design It Yourself) Afghans.

Last weekend I tweeted my experiments in making chocolate martinis. Many of you who follow me there were amused - it wasn't nearly so amusing on my end because I was typing so poorly as the experiment progressed that editing was taking longer than typing!

End result? Delicious! And I found answers to the great chocolate martini questions of life - namely:

Where was the vodka hiding? In the freezer where it normally lives, but it was buried under 14 pounds of blueberries from our adventures in picking local produce. Found it eventually.

Can you in fact use a child's liquid cough syrup cap if you can't find a shot glass? Yes indeed you can, although your online friends will call you mean names like "sad" and "pathetic" But you know what? I believe in improvisation in mixology as well as crochet and knitting - and life, come to that. If you fill up to the 3 tsp line on the cough syrup cap, you have half a shot.

Did you really ruin the whole thing by using Skim Plus instead of Half and Half? See above on improvisation - having had to run to the store for both Godiva Liqueur and Creme De Cacao this was already turning into the world's most expensive chocolate martini, and I was damned if I was going to run out again. Skim Plus I had, Skim Plus I used. Worked fine, although maybe not as thick as it might have been.

Did Little Loopy mock you much? Yes - once when I poured the whole thing in a free-from-Burger-King Mickey Mouse glass from 2000 instead of digging out an actual martini glass. I am not big on delayed gratification.

And again when I commented on how very loopy I got from one drink - 3.5 shots of alcohol is a hell of a lot of booze in one glass for a light drinker like me.

How was your gauge afterwards? Loosey-goosey baby, but I didn't care! That's what blocking is for.

Will repeat the experiment again soon - maybe this Friday night, you never know...

Pretty pretty picture


The day before the Chain Link conference in Buffalo, LL and I ditched and went up to see Niagara Falls. Neither of us had ever been before and we were both blown away by how beautiful it is.(image) I snapped that photo from the Maid of the Mist tour boat - we got soaked, in a good way! The rest of the day included some shopping, some lunch at the Ontario Planet Hollywood (marred slightly perhaps by their complete lack of crocheted or knitted costume pieces :-), and some walking around seeing the sights. Fact that interested me the most? The fact that due to erosion and other natural forces, the Falls isn't exactly where it was years ago - it moves.

Others have blogged about the Chain Link conference - I don't have much to add other than I had a great time seeing old friends, and meeting some internet friends in real life.

Busy right now trying to get six new Hooked for Life patterns out by October 1st, helping some buddies edit their book, and sketching out the new booklet I just agreed to do for Leisure Arts. Back to school for LL next week - her supplies are all bought, her new clothes laid out. All I have to do is take her shoe shopping - we had the annual "LL wore flip flops all summer and we just now discovered that her feet grew a full size and nothing fits" tango. She needs at least one new pair of sneakers (preferably two - one for the gym locker) and some black flats to go with her nice new skirts. Later on some weather boots and the local uniform shoe of choice, Uggs! Then a winter coat.... sigh.... this growing thing is killing my budget!

Which is why I am off back to work.

Miss me?


Katy and I hit the Lion Brand podcast airwaves!

I know I should blog, I want to blog, I just don't have time to blog! Just now when my business is getting interesting enough to provide good blog fodder, is the time when if I stop to write about things they won't get done and the whole house of cards will fall apart!

That said - Katy and I had a great time at the Chain Link conference in Buffalo, then at a family vacation in Cape May. Now we are off to visit my mother for the weekend, all the while editing books and patterns, and fulfilling the mounting (yay!) wholesale orders for print patterns.

So we're here, we're happy, we're busy, and the blog is boring.

Click on the link above to hear the Lion Brand podcast, on which we were guests while in Buffalo. Pretty picture to follow, next week some time, I pinky promise!

Sock Knitting Madness!


You all have GOT to go check out this blog post - Brian Kohler is knitting seven pairs of socks at one time. Genius or madness? You decide!

Skacel Blog!

LL has some FOs!


Since I haven't been able to show you anything that I have finished lately, I thought I would share these two FOs belonging to Little Loopy! These are from the book Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet(image) which LL and I both think is adorable. These two are now residing at Stix-n-Stitches in Montclair NJ - the store that commissioned them. I guess that means LL is now a contract crocheter!

More yarn came today for a magazine project, and I am busy swatching for a potential new booklet for next year. Will let you know all the details when I can.

Been busy booking summer guests for Getting Loopy - Susan Levin, Kathleen from Jelly Yarns, Kim Werker and the Krochet Kids International are all on the schedule - stay tuned!