Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Warm Up America project

I have been volunteering for Warm Up America www.warmupamerica.com for about 3 years now. Crocheters and knitters donate their time to crochet and knit 7" x 9" rectangles and then our group joins them together to make afghans, then we deliver the completed afghans to woman’s shelters and homeless shelters around the Twin Cities area. I meet with a wonderful group in Apple Valley, Minnesota, at the Joanne’s store on Cty. Road 42. We meet the first Wednesday of the month from 10am to 12 noon (just in case any Minnesota readers are interested in joining!)

My very first afghan took me so long to do, but was soooo worth it! Check out my very first blog post, on April 20, 2005, featuring my finished Warm Up America afghan. I was pretty proud. I’ve helped make probably 100 more afghans since.

In the top picture is a pile of donated squares, all in red, white and blue. This pile is turning into a “lap-ghan” that looks like an American flag. I’m crocheting the little white stars to sew on and will put an edge of either red, white or blue on it to finish it off. This lap-ghan is hopefully designated to go to the V.A. hospital in Minneapolis.

If you have a lot of yarn in your stash and know of a Warm Up America group in your area, I encourage you to donate either your yarn or completed 7"x9" squares, or better yet, join the group!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Coral Cables

I don’t want to give away too much but I’m almost finished with this revamped design. Originally this was a design for my book, I pulled it out of the line-up, changed it a bit, and now I hope to offer the pattern on-line for sale. This was "Anne of Green Cables" and it was in a dark green, chunky yarn, but I decieded I LOVED the color coral!

It is a beautiful, timeless design that will appeal to the intermediate crocheter. It features a fantastic cable pattern, fairly simple shaping, and a big hook and yummy yarn that will “work up quick”. Once the design is completed and tested, I'll post more details. This design will also be part of the Funky Girl Sweater Sets and have a matching camisole/tank top.

Did I ever tell ya how much I LOVE YARN?!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Uncommon Threads - Taping in LA

Our Dressing Room!
Amie, Judy (our Producer)and me
For the last 3 months, we’ve worked on specific projects for the show; we’ve broken down our projects for easy demonstration (called step-outs) and basic scripting for conversation during the taping. All that changed the morning we starting taping, but it all worked out pretty darn cool I’d say. Some projects were totally cut from the line-up, which I was OK with (as mine was super small) BUT Amie had a project cut that was extremely time consuming, so I felt really bad for her. All in all, I think we had a great taping, a great director and producer, who allowed us to do a bit of “show and tell” to showcase our crochet designs (hoping this will direct some traffic to our websites for business.)

Working on step-outs before taping, I'm a little nervous here.
Just before we were going to start taping, one of my skeins of yarn got tangled, and Dave, one of the props guys, jumped in and untangled my yarn, gotta love that! He also would re-thread the sewing machine for Allison between “takes”. I’ve decided I’d like a props person around the house, for when I need a little extra help…oh…wait a minute, that’s only in Hollywood.

Dave in from the props dept. untangles my yarn
Yes, our days were long, averaging around 12 hours. We had some down time, got to met another group filming a sewing episode. I LOVED to talk with Jane, the wardrobe guru. She gave me some valuable advice and I plan on following through with her advice on getting a professional haircut. You see, my husband Scott has cut my hair for the last 8 years, just an inch off the bottom every 6 months or so. But it is time to get a ’new do’ I think. I’ve had this hair style for almost a decade. Yep, 10 years, just pull it back, tie it on top, rat and spray. Time to upgrade, hey, I’ve just got back from LA where everyone is beautiful!

Here I am on the set (in the coral shirt) with the crew

Here we are on TV!
Drew, Allison, Amie and me

Here we are showing our bags for one episode. Not sure if we can show our designs, so the bags are blurred, to protect the innocent.
Amie, me and Drew

We are all on set, Allison is demoing some sewing. We look enthralled!

During my travels, I took the opportunity to meet some folks. I met an array of characters; I had layovers each way so I had a total of 4 flights, that’s a lot of people to meet! I had a layover in Phoenix on my way out to LA and I met a nun from India, who looked like a younger version of Mother Teresa. She was traveling from Phoenix to New York, to London, to her home in India to see her dying mother. She told me her story and I starting crying, she gave me a big hug and we wished each other safe travels. I also met a Navy officer from San Diego, on “leave” to go home to Wisconsin, we talked about the military life, as my husband Scott’s brother Steve is in the military and was stationed in San Diego. We also agreed that growing up in the Midwest allows us to easily talk strangers; I told him I talk to everyone, strange or not. I also sat next to a couple from Watts, which is a rough suburb of Los Angeles. They were flying for the very first time, going gambling in Vegas. We talked for a long time about turbulence. They didn’t like turbulence, but liked getting drinks on the plane.

Back in Minnesota, life is just the same, but I feel different. I feel like I've just had every crochet designers fairy tale dream come true, to be on a craft show that features crochet. I will be forever grateful to Amie for bringing me along on this great adventure, I'm thrilled to have met The Crochet Dude, Drew Emborsky. I will cherish every crazy moment and every stress filled rehearsal.

Stay tuned to find out when the 3 epsoides will air on the DIY channel!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Uncommon Threads - First Day

Allison Whitlock - The host of Uncommon Threads

OMGOSH – I’m posting from downtown Burbank, California!

Just to remind you dear readers, I’m an at-home-Mom from Minnesota pursing a crochet design career, and got my 2nd big break by being on the show Uncommon Threads, thanks to Amie of NexStitch. We just finished shooting 2 episodes of Uncommon Threads today, after a day of rehearsals yesterday, and with our FABULOUS HOST Allison Whitlock! Life is crazy here, a totally different lifestyle, the pace is crazy fast and shooting a craft show is probably one of the most incredible experiences of my crochet designer career. Yes it is true it is not all GLAMOR but dang, we have wardrobe people, make-up artist, production assistances, props guys, a super cool studio, awesome show set, we have our own dressing room, and hey, even DAVE the super cool props guy untangled my yarn for me! Our producer Judy juggles more than I can imagine, Gordon our director know his &%$# and the camera guys are awesome! Granted we had a few changes in what we were expecting, (to demo and show) but the pace is so fast and things change in a second, you’ve gotta go with the flow or you’ll get left behind! I've gotta get some sleep or I’ll miss our morning call time, we’ve got one for show to rehearse and shoot, then I’m taking the red-eye flight home, via Las Vegas, to Minnesota.

I’ll post more details once I get home and download my pics.I’m having a blast, Amie and Drew are fantastic crochets, I’m honored to be in such company.

Life is so totally good in LA!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Two Days to L.A.

OK, I’ve got 2 days until I fly out to California (Los Angeles to be specific, actually Burbank, you know, close to Hollywood!)

My purpose? To film 3 episodes for Uncommon Threads. I am learning a lot about myself while I’m packing. Here is my List:

  1. I own a ton of black shoes.
  2. I dress in such drab colors that I could be a funeral director’s secretary.
  3. All the zippers on my suitcase are broken.
  4. I don’t understand the term “pack light”. Not in my dictionary.
  5. I will not fit a lot of yarn in a small space, even if I sit on it.
  6. Bungee cords work wonders.
  7. No sharp objects on the plane. Thank goodness I’ve got a crochet gig in LA, VS. a knitting gig. Knitting Needles are still viewed as weapons by most major airlines. Hummm, Grandma Terrorist, and as I type that I'm added to the “Monitor List” at the FBI.
  8. I’d like to hire someone to scrub my kitchen floor (hey wait a minute, that has nothing to do with packing, this post or the show)

I also learned that I have Teflon grey hair (actually like 5 strands of Teflon grey hair) So I might be forced to use a black magic-marker on the few rebel strands, cuz hair dye doesn’t touch it. This is funny b ecause years ago I used “White-Out” to touch up a pair of scuffed white go-go boots, so why can’t I use a black magic-marker on my grey hair, it does the same (temporary) thing?

I rest my case, a girl's gotta do what a girls gotta do and I've got 2 days to L.A.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

BrainsBarn Custom Wooden Crochet Hooks

My breath was taken away when I opened a very special package today. I just received 2 hooks from BrainsBarn handcrafted wooden crochet hooks of exotic hardwoods. I literally gasped as I unwrapped them. The hook on the right is size K, made of Chakte Kok, elegantly turned with tear drop bead. The hook on the left is size G, made of Boccote with a captive ring. I’ve admired from afar, now they are actually here, not 1 but 2! My smile is a mile wide. It is hard for non-crochet folks to understand, but they are some of the most beautiful peices of craved wood, I'm in awe. Only the finest yarn will touch these hooks.

My obsession with fine hooks began when I received my Grandmother’s antique bone hook, then I became the proud owner of a Jimbo Hook and now my newest additions from BriansBarn.

Life is so good!

**check out Amie's newest hooks at NexBlog