If There Was Something That I Could Change About My Life…


It was a writing prompt, but it did have me thinking.

I’d improve my short-term memory and I’d take away my propensity towards allergic reactions.

I’d like to stop being a medical freak of nature.  Either that, or I wish medicine didn’t practice the way it does and cause me harm.

I’d actually get paid for writing.

I’d travel the world.

I’d figure out how to go to Spain on the high school trip as promised.

My hands would always work when I want them to.  And they would stop hurting.

My house would always be spotless.

I’d have more relaxed time having fun with my kids and husband and less time worrying.

I’d be a better communicator.  Because Lord knows, I don’t always get it right.

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Help Me Find Some Yarn? Pleeeeeaaaassseee?


Tahki_Savoy_Purple_19_YarnSo I’m on the hunt for a very specific kind of yarn.  It’s a beautiful shade of purple and one picked out by my sister-in-law for her Christmas present.  I’ve been looking for just the right shade of purple for her for months.  It was not easy to find and now here we finally found it, and it was the very last ball my local yarn store had.

TKI-SAVY-019So no problem, I’m thinking.  I can find some on the internet.

Only to my dismay, I’ve discovered that not only has this yarn been discontinued, but I can’t even find it for sale 2nd hand anywhere either, much less from any online store!  At least not in this color!  Even Tahki Yarns tried to help me find more by retweeting my request for help on Twitter.  And I need at least two more balls to make the promised gift.  Ai!

So I’m going to maximize my NaBloPoMo reach and am turning to you for some help.

My dear, dear yarny friends, is there any chance that you have any Tahki Savoy (Merino and Silk blend) yarn in Purple (19) that you are willing to part with and sell to me?  Some list it as Amethyst color with part number TKI-SAVY-019.    The one ball that I have is dye lot 66.  But I’ll take any dye lot I can get.  I’ll even buy up to 4 balls of this particular yarn.

Tahki_Savoy_Purple_19_Yarn2Or, if you don’t have this yarn in your stash, would you be willing to take a peek at your own local yarn stores the next time you run in and see if they have it? Then let me know?

Because I’m having no luck and I’m running out of time to get this present made.  Oh, and before you suggest, I’ve had no luck on Ravelry.com either.

I guess this yarn is seriously out of date, but it’s the perfect shade of purple, with the perfect softness and amount of sheen, and it took forever to find the perfect shade, so I gotta find more.

Thanks my friends, for any help!

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Follow Your Heart – It’s Not Really That Clichéd – Crochet Ruminations


You know the best advice I can give an artist seeking to sell for profit is to follow your heart when it comes to creativity and listen to your customers’ feedback.

Every time I’ve ever tried to do something my heart wasn’t really into, from that creative artistic point of view, it never would sell well.

In the beginning, I got a lot of shoulds on what to make from peers and others who had input to give me, but who weren’t ever buying from me.  “You should make dog clothes!”  I don’t own dogs and I don’t know the first thing about shaping for them, I don’t think so.  “You should make purses!” Well, I might make a couple, but if I’m not really a bag lady myself, how can I possibly find it interesting enough to create them for profit or be in tune with what people want in a crochet purse. “I just want to see you succeed,” another artist told me at a show after giving unsolicited advice.

And you know what else?  Not once has a customer treated me that way either.  Kind of interesting.  Maybe they like my ideas just the way they are.

And that’s just it.  I have always succeeded by being me.  And not by trying to imitate someone else.

I believe people buy handmade and art because they are expressions of someone, and they are drawn to that spirit.  When it’s authentic, they’re fans.  When it’s not, there’s nothing to distinguish you the individual from someone else.  And when we listen to fans and to the people who are actually putting money into our hands, we’re listening to people who have tapped into our creative spirit.  Which can be really helpful when we’re feeling a bit lost and need direction.

Anyway, so though it sounds clichéd, seriously – follow your heart in your craft.  Pour yourself into it.  And if you can’t?  If there’s a block? Then find an avenue that isn’t blocked.  Nowhere does it say that you have to be a yellow pencil.  Be inspired by someone?  Sure.  But genuinely do your own thing!

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Display And Pricing Your Art And Handmade Items At Shows


I’ve done shows for some years now. And one of the things every newbie (and many seasoned) sellers struggle with is how to handle displaying your pricing.  Sometimes sellers think that not using tags or pricing will somehow make their items look more professional and nicer.  But one of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is by not displaying (or hiding altogether) the price of their work.

From a marketing standpoint, you want your customers to not only be able to see your prices, but to see that you have a range of prices. You want highs and lows and in-betweens. You will always have those buyers looking for the cheapest they can get and occasionally (maybe more often depending on the venue and location) those buyers who have no financial restraints. But most of your customers and sales are going to fall into that mid-range.  And a lot of that is frankly psychology.  Most of us don’t want the cheapest, but we also can’t always afford the best.  So we aim for the middle somewhere.  I can’t afford X, and Z is not nearly as nice, so I’m going to settle for a lesser expensive Y.  We like to work in three’s.

We tend to approach everything in life this way, like a bowling ball bumping its way down a kiddie lane, trying to find that nice wide middle.  By not providing that largest of human buying demographics the middle-ground it seeks, you set up a scenario where it’s not easy for buyers to make the decisions they are used to, because one (or more) of the three legs is missing.  Either that or there are way too many legs to choose from.  And if it’s not easy, then buyers don’t buy.  So you’re also handicapping yourself in sales.  Because let’s face it – buyers of handmade goods in the US don’t typically quibble over 50 cents here or a $1 there.  That’s not what we’re talking about here.  What they are really looking for in their buying decisions is justification.  And they will judge your pricing as a means of measuring the worth of your work.

So make sure your prices are visible and do not hide them.  Whether you do this by pricing with tags, little cards, or by using a sign with color codes dots, I’m not sure it matters. But make those prices visible and have a high, a (or some) middle and a low always. You could always opt for a pricing gun or gold ink or something if you’re trying to professionalize the look further.

There’s another consideration in the matter of pricing.  Many of your best customers are also the ones who do not like to touch displays very much and who will want to window shop a show for bit first before they handle any items. (And many buyers do not like to “show their hand” when they are interested in something.) Too many of these customers would rather walk away than touch an item to look for a price if it’s not clear what price range your booth is. Haggling is not a “high-end” kind of mentality and most juried shows don’t allow it, but also, many customers are uncomfortable with it. Also keep in mind, there are most definitely some shows out there where customers will judge you if you are not expensive enough. If you don’t think your work is worth very much, why should they?

Lastly, you should know that it’s not only your typical buyers who peruse shows.  You could have potential customers who are looking at your items from a business point of view (i.e. consignment shops who peruse shows looking for new blood).  Making sure your pricing is visible, broad spectrum and in balance, can help them make a business decision faster too. There are several kinds of eyes at shows and if you want to make sales, you want to catch them all.

Pricing is not just about affordability, but also the value you place on your work. It says a lot about you.  So think about the image you wish to convey and price accordingly.  And don’t get stuck on “nobody will pay that, so I’ll charge pennies” mentality.  Women are especially bad about valuing their work for some reason.  So think on it this way.  For the same money, you can work super hard at lower quality to sell several, or you can pour yourself into better quality and sell one.  One of these requires more patience than the other.  Which will help you find your balance in life and get you where you want to be?

If you need more ideas for doing shows, I wrote an article about shows you might find helpful here: aberrantcrochet.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/about-doing-craft-shows-ob…

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Filed under Doing the Show Circuit, Education, NaBloPoMo

Happy Veterans Day: Watch Your Language


It had been a long weekend in the Texas sun.  The state guardsman reached for the refrigerator door and a welcome shower of cool air fell over his long military sleeves.

Looking over the grocer’s jugs of milk, searching for the best date, his hand lingered on a handle for just a moment.

That’s when he heard it.

“Kill any babies.”

The tone was aimed directly at him. And it wasn’t in the form of a question.

Quietly the father retrieved the milk his wife asked for and he straightened.  He was on the way home from weekend guard duty.   They would be deploying for hurricane relief soon.  It would mean a pay cut, but that’s what guardsman do. They go where they are needed.  Local relief, wars in distant lands, bringing war criminals before the Hague so they can stand trial for their crimes against humanity; guardsmen and reservists help fill the gap.

On the one hand, it’s sad that our military is paid so small for such great sacrifice and threat of safety.  And yet, you wouldn’t want a military that was made up of people who were only there for the money.  It would be a dangerous thing.  You need men and women who are willing to be of service, to offer a sacrifice of their personal wants and needs for those of another, to help maintain this bubble we live in and call the U.S..  And today guardsmen are depended upon more and more.

So much is given when someone says to Uncle Sam, OK – my life is yours to command.  Not to mention given of the mothers, mates and children left behind.  Not to mention, sometimes even unto death.  Our military needs to know its people love  them.  So to hear something like this is just… demoralizing.

I chose to write about an uncomfortable subject today, in honor of Veterans Day, because it’s a silent abuse that no one talks about.  That father was my husband.  And this kind of treatment of veterans is not often talked about but it happens.  All too frequently.  It happens to the families who support their soldiers.  It happened to me just for “allowing” my husband to enlist in the army guard after 9/11.  Not to mention the persecution against children of soldiers.

I don’t know what the answers are, but the story needs to be told.  It’s bad enough when free people forget to say thank you to those who voluntarily give up their freedom to serve the greater good.  But this other stuff? Whatever it is?

“Kill any babies.”

My husband straightened up, milk in hand.

Taking a deep breath, he looked at the older woman, but only briefly.

He steeled his jaw and pivoted away, replying just simply this:

“Not today.”


To our brothers and sisters in arms and to the families at home waiting for them: we salute your sacrifice and service and we embrace you as our own. We promise to teach our children to value what you give.  May God be with you all and bring you safely home. 

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Weekend Fun – Top Search Terms Of All Time on Aberrant Crochet


These are the top search terms that have hit my blog in all its years of existence!
(There are more, I just cut it off at sharing this much.)

crochet
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crochet boot toppers patterns
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attitudes in communication
crochet teddy bear hat
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make whipped cream ninja blender
crochet jelly fish
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Now My Child And I Are Going To Die…


My true story. 

There’s a heartbeat sounding in my ears.

“See mom, these are the Hot Wheels I want to keep, because they have moving parts.”  The rest can go to the fundraiser.

Moving parts are always more interesting.

Thump-thump.

I hear the crashing sound of a demolition crew.

Wait….  That’s not right.  I’m sitting at a stop light.  At an intersection on the edge of town.  Nothing but trees and cacti on my right.  I turn to my left.

Heartbeat.

There’s an infinity in the space between moments.  Did I leave my body?

Heartbeat.  Silence.

My child!

If I left my body, it wasn’t for long.  But I’m frozen.

The pickup driver’s hair is blonde.

Flash…..

My earliest childhood memory takes place in my father’s arms at an amusement park.  My parents told me that I must have been about 18 months old when they took that trip.

I’m staring at a ride that looks something like a huge airplane propeller with rockets on each end.  It’s painted red, white and blue, with one end red, the other blue and a band of white at the axis.

The propeller spins and there is a boy in the blue rocket.  His shirt is yellow.  He’s screaming his head off and I can see a look in his eyes.

Flash…..

A black pickup is hanging in mid-air.  It twists and grows larger.

Fractured glass.

The driver’s hair is blonde.  There is a look in his eyes.

My hand flies out in front of my son.

Flash…..

It’s Friday before Spring Break 2006.  I’m going to see Grandma Dot and Grandpa Jack.  I packed the antique dishes Grandma Dot’s great-uncle gave her, that she passed on to me.  He was the US ambassador to Mexico once and he brought her back this set of white dishes.  I want to ask her for more details to complete the story about these dishes.  She always remembers the stories to everything.  But when I tried to ask over the phone, she wasn’t sure which set I was talking about.

They were last to load into the trunk.

“Darling, let me keep the kids.  I know you wonder if this might be the last time they’ll get to see the kids or not, but you’ll be stressed out trying to keep them away from the breakables at your grandparents.  I’ll keep the kids.  Just go, enjoy your time with your grandparents.”

My husband is wonderful.  Though guilt worries me.  What if this is the last time Grandpa is able to see his great-grandchildren?  But John’s right – Grandma’s house is not child-proof by any means.  I remove the car seats from the back seat, say goodbye to my children and leave them with John.

I always say prayers in the car when I go on a trip.

It’s Friday before spring break and Interstate 35 is filled with college students, excited for the break.  Mid-terms are over and I see kids hanging out of cars at 65 miles an hour whooping up the day.

It’s dangerous.  But I also remember college mid-terms and how delirious they make you feel.  Stress that only the young can take.  Why do we do that to them?

At mile marker 299:  The highway suddenly goes from three lanes to two, with no warning.

Some kids cut off a yellow moving truck; they’re trying to merge and going too fast.  The yellow truck practically stands on its brakes and every car around it suddenly fishes right or left to avoid collision.  There is a full shoulder on the left which only lasts for about one mile.  The young man in front of me and I quickly and successfully move to that left shoulder and safely get by.

Suddenly, there’s a force from behind me that is so great.

Can sounds blind you?

I look to my rear-view and see the demolition hitch.  It’s coming through my back window towards my head.  The white Ford F-350 doesn’t have a grill on the front.  There’s something else attached.  It looks like the front of a snow-plow.

The truck is so much higher than my silver Altima, that it never hits my bumper.  Unbounded, it plows through my back window and seat. The trunk of my car is center-punched down the middle.  Slammed, I collide into the car ahead of me.

For an instant, everything is black.

My hood blows.  Glass sprays like snow.  My shoulder hurts like hell.  My air-bag never deployed.

Just two weeks before this, I saw a little silver car smashed between the highway median wall and a semi truck on the way to the kids’ school.  I came home and told my husband, “I don’t want to drive a little silver car anymore.”

I guess I got my wish.

I start shaking uncontrollably and burst into tears.  I am going numb.

Flash…..

It’s just like a movie stunt, except without exciting music, and without a drumbeat.  Just my heart, ringing in my ears.

The little black truck is hanging high in the air – twisting, flying towards us.

I am frozen.  Caught between stories in time.

My stories.  My traumas.  My time-warp.  The words ring through me, “I just got a new home and now my child and I are going to die.”

And those aren’t spoken words.  There is no “hearing” of them.  They impress on the very soul, like a stamp.  Like a vice.  Punching through the heart and being.

My hand flies out in front of my son.  The truck slams to the ground on its nose and bounces, flipping towards us.

The driver’s hair is blonde.  I’m boxed in.  I can’t back up.

There’s nowhere to go.  I am frozen.

It is silent.


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Filed under Editorial, NaBloPoMo, Writing

The World Needs More Letters…


Here’s an inspiring TED video I wanted to share:

The above video is about the world needing more love letters.  And well, it struck the romantic cord inside of me.

It’s been awhile since I made a point of writing letters, but I used to.  I used to write letters every Saturday to my friends at college who waited to get mail from home.  Even though it was a small and close-knit theology school, going to college there was sometimes a lonely place, where you wonder if everyone you ever knew back home forgot about you once you left.  You work so hard, have little money, live in a strange world with people you don’t know and many feel the vacuum left behind without the nurturing comforts they were used to most of their life.

Trust me, letters and care packages from friends were nearly as welcome back in my college 20 years ago as they are in the military.  And not everyone had loving family and friends back home to write them for them.  Little handwritten Saturday notes with goofy cartoons and stickers were a way to brighten someone’s week.

Later I wrote letters for cancer victims and children.  Again, it’s one of those things people forget about doing anymore.  Sometimes at the very onset, people get a flood of attention and well wishes, and a bunch of greeting cards with little more than a name signed.  But come 6 months later?  When things are still scary and no one remembers anymore?  There’s not even that signed card.  Three months, 6 months, a year after a loss, a trauma, a triumph: these are times people need encouragement most of all.  And yes, we need them after triumphs too.

You could send them an e-card, perhaps.  And that’s something.  But there’s nothing like the power of a handwritten note that says, “I’m thinking of you.  I’m still here.  And I’m proud of the fight you’re putting up.”

I also used to keep hand-written journals.  In spite of being a dysgraphic adult I far preferred journaling by hand than by computer.  I have ever since reading Harriet The Spy when I was a kid. Unlike Harriet, I wasn’t interested in writing down what people did when no one was looking, but I did very much enjoy the meditative process.  It’s something I haven’t done in a long time.  But today, I can still pick up one of my handwritten journals from 4th grade and immediately travel back in time.  Flowing through every stroke of the pen, every stroke that I made, I reach back in time and hold the hand of that child I once was.  Remembering what it was like to be that kid.  Even from so long ago, the connection is so strong I almost remember the stroking of each entry as if in the moment.

The handwritten word is so very powerful.  And it’s a wonder that a dysgraphic person like me ever learned to love it.  Even if I do struggle with it to this day.  It’s too easy to take the art for granted.

I have tried to collect letters and recipes in the handwriting of each of my family members possible, alive or dead.  Even my grandparents had trouble understanding my desire for hand written recipes.  They wanted to type them for me and I kept saying, no.  Please give me recipes in your own handwriting.  Because that’s unique.  And when I touch the letters, it’s like reaching out for your hand.  I want my own grand kids to know you, some way, some how in a way that can’t be done so personally.  What better way than through food prepared and written about by your own hand?

Handwriting is an art form and it carries more emotion in the formation of each character than anything typed.  There’s simply more voice in the strokes of the hand-written word, vs. the print of the digital.  And I must admit, like my Grandma Dot, I have saved every single real letter I’ve ever received since childhood.  One of my favorites contains advice that a group of out-of-state high school friends collaborated on and sent me, trying to help me with a stalker situation I didn’t know how to handle.  Each one signed their names.  I have no idea where any of them are today.  But I hang onto their letter and hope to see them again someday.

I can’t think of the last time I’ve received a handwritten letter myself.  I think this weekend I will challenge myself to hand-write a letter to someone.  Maybe roll the dice or draw a name and just do it.  Even if I might have to do some recon to find a mailing address. Maybe just write something to leave out in the world somewhere for someone else to find unawares. But just sit down and for once, write a real letter.

What do you think?  How about you?


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Or perhaps it’s simply that we cannot hear ourselves…


“[The musician]… said that he felt just about everyone could train to be a decent singer, but the main challenge was that people don’t hear themselves the way other people hear them, so their pitch is off. They hear one pitch in their heads, but what they’re actually singing (and what other people hear) doesn’t align with what they think they’re singing.” ~ Steve Pavlina

The above quote is from an article on the Law of Attraction by Steve Pavlina (see link above).  I wanted to share it tonight, because it struck me that this analogy is a good reminder about life in general.

What are the messages that we project? Are we really in tune with that?

In my line of work, in charity work, in the education system, in local business – I run into people every single day who think they’re professional, but don’t project it. Who think they are loving, but do not project it. Who think they are thoughtful and considerate, but do not project it. Who think they have life figured out, but they don’t project it. Who think they are kind, when they absolutely are not.

And we can say well… they are doing the best they can.

Perhaps.

Or perhaps it’s simply that they cannot hear themselves.

If Buddha, or Jesus, or Krishna, or another spiritual master were in our presence. Perhaps Mother Teresa? What would we reflect and sound like in their presence? Would our song suddenly be in tune?

Why should it be any different with our fellow man?

It strikes me as one of the lessons of Job (as in the man from the bible). That great wonderful person we think ourselves to be? You know, how supposedly we have committed to being something greater than the sum of our molecules? That spiritual life we wish to embrace?

Are. We. Really. That?

Do we really mean it when we say we are committed to the service of the greater good? Because we cannot serve others very well when we cannot get past ourselves.

So when there’s a little squeeze, when we are pushed out of our comfort zone, do we show the world something different? Do we project being a good and kind person?  Or do we say, “The energy’s off,” or “That person’s not right.” Do we say, “It wasn’t meant to be?”

Do we write off, or worse yet – harm, a fellow child of God because we do not (or wish not to) hear that it is we who we are the discordant ones?

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What’s Your Brotherhood?


Wherever you find a group of people with similar micro-cultures and struggles, whatever the demographic, you will find a brotherhood.

We find it in religions, the military, shared trauma and health issues and by country and state (ask any Texan).  We see it in men, women, sisters, brothers and of course fathers and mothers.

Micro-cultures such as these (and sometimes macro ones) all have something in common: if you are not in the “club” then you just don’t know.

Without shared experiences, the micro-culture doesn’t exist and sometimes it’s difficult to value and envision the very experiences that set someone apart.  Those significant commonalities tie hearts together and separate a group from an otherwise a generic human experience.  If you’re not “in,” you don’t know.

If you’ve never had cancer and never been through chemo, there’s no way you truly understand what it’s like for someone who’s going through it now.  If you’ve never lost a child, no matter how horrible it might seem to you, you don’t know the pain of someone who has.  If you’ve never been abused, had an alcoholic parent or been hurt by a pathological liar, you can’t know the pain and the harm it causes.  That last sub-group of abusers is especially insidious, because there are no watch-dog or support organizations to help the addicted or the abused.  Just as a man cannot know what it’s like to have a monthly period, any more than a woman knows what it’s like to be kicked in the groin.  You can try to equate it to something, but it’s never going to be like the real experience.

If you’ve never been discriminated against, for any reason, you can’t claim to understand what it’s like.  Religiously, racially, sexually.  They’re all different.  If you’ve never been on the front line defending your country (or anyone for that matter), you have no idea what that’s like or what it takes.  If you’ve never lost (or been born without) a body part, you can’t begin to know the battles someone who has faces every day.

It’s just the physical/logical reality of the way things are.

And that’s fine.  It’s normal not to be infinite enough to know what all these experiences are like, inside and out.  It’s normal that there’s a huge diversity of shared experiences and micro-cultures that differ.  That’s where brotherhoods come to be.  And I use that term loosely to cover sisterhoods and mixed-hoods too. (So no griping at me.)

But here’s the thing.  As a part of any brotherhood, there’s an unspoken support code. Whatever one it is that you fall into: Are you loyal to it?  I mean, because of all people, those who are “in the club” are supposed to know.  You’re supposed to be empathetic.

This question occurred to me in particular when it comes to mothers.

There’s no doubt that motherhood (and parenthood) is a unique and challenging role in the human experience.  No amount of research can prepare you for it and no one child is ever identical to another.  But there are so many new experiences and challenges that come with motherhood – ones you can’t get any other way.  And mother to mother, we know.  Or at least we should.  And that alone commands a powerful loyalty amongst comrades.

I think I’ll ponder on these things a little longer and write more tomorrow.

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Someone Needs Your Good Thoughts Tonight


I had planned on writing about something else, but changed my mind after a phone call from a friend today.  Her nephew is in great need of your kind regards and prayers right now.  Because today, this young 23 year old is considering the taking of his own life.

He’s suffers from depression and ADHD and is in therapy, but he’s struggling. And she’s very worried.

It’s one of those dark concerns we all have, but don’t really talk about, as it becomes more and more common to know someone touched by depression and suicide.  According to Save, suicide is the third leading cause of death for kids 15-24 years old.  It’s the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. (homicide ranks behind at 15th), according to the CDC.  On top of that, WebMD reports that there may be a connection between ADHD and depression and suicide attempts.

Certainly, my friend’s story also strikes a personal chord for me, as I still carry childhood pain from a family member’s multiple talks and attempts of suicide. Not to mention my heart goes out as a mother of teens myself.

I don’t have more details about this young man, and I do not know him personally. I do know that his family is doing everything they can for him. And that everyone is hurting.

My friend asked if I would please pass the word and ask my friends to pray too. So I extend the request to you. Please keep this young man, my friend and their family in your thoughts tonight and through this trying time for him.

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And Sometimes Things Don’t Go According To Plan…


The idea was that every morning, I was going to start my day afresh with writing.  I would get up early, catch a few newsy reads and then start writing between sips of mellow coffee while the world wakes up.  And then, with satisfying words on screen, I could launch my day feeling meditated, insightful and pumped for the day.

But that hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

And what’s weirder, really, is that I used to prefer to write at night.  It was in the evening that my mind was always so awake and so introspective.  With the day’s work done, my mind would be so free.  However, these days I’m so tired by the time the evening rolls around, I pretty much fail into bed.  That’s right – fail.

So the last thing I really want to do is try to write before bedtime.  Because by then any surviving mellow, insightful brain cells have already passed out, leaving just the cranky ones.  And frankly a few less than intelligent ones.  “Yes mastah. Write a sentence. Let’s see: A……..  S……. e…… n……. t…….” (In your best obedient zombie voice, btw.)

So tonight, while I was feeling cranky about my unexpected day of emergencies, it dawned on me that there are an awful lot of things in my life that haven’t gone according to plan.

I mean, I never set out to make a name for myself in crochet, for instance.  And I never could have imagined a job like social media management.  I mean, how could I?  I was supposed to be Dr. Meek who specialized in the Medieval period of music and literature and taught a mean music theory class, with maybe a minor in astronomy.  And who performed on the side and repaired pianos, because it’s weird that there aren’t more pianists who know something about repairing their own instruments.  I never thought about making money with computers.  Or that anyone would ever care about the way I look at crochet.

I expected my first vehicle to be a little pickup truck, not a motorcycle.  A motorcycle was not in the plan.  And yet, the experiences that first bike and I had were life altering.  Including the time she ran out of gas at 2am on Texas Hwy 80, with not an open gas station around for miles.  And the time two drunks tried to ram my bike from behind with their truck.  Not to mention the pity and help I received from some wonderful mechanics.  Or the impressionable young kids from that Methodist church nursery I worked at, who watched me ride into the parking lot every Sunday to come and help in the nursery.

I moved to Austin to study Music Business and piano tuning.  And instead got married and had my first child.  I worked myself to death in high school and college only to find out not too many people cared and that it didn’t give me any edges in the real world.

We bought a cute little house with the plan to stay there only 2-3 years. Instead unplanned repairs turned up and we stayed 15.

Before marriage there were no plans for military service.  And then 9/11 came.  And before I knew it, I was a military guard wife with a husband overseas.

I didn’t plan to fall down the stairs, and look where that landed me.  (ha)

But the thing is, there are some amazing things that happened, but weren’t according to plan.  And maybe the purpose of my plans shouldn’t have been objects or goals all along.  Because it seems to me that my planning still did something for me, but just not in the way I expected.

Having a motorcycle taught me to be more aware and a better driver under even strange situations.  Being a military wife put me in situations I would never choose, but that showed me my strength and made me appreciate the plight of widowed parents even more.   And crochet?  It’s brought me into the circles of more amazing people and adventures than I could have ever guessed possible.

And I think, that all this has helped show me that planning for ideal pictures of life doesn’t really work.  Instead, we should train and be ready for a journey.

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Sometimes you are not free to tell the world…


Writing is a great way to share joy, as well as work out frustrations and pain.

But sometimes, you can’t go there.  Sometimes you are not free to tell the world that you hurt.

I shed tears today.  Someone lost a child and I shed tears for them.  It’s a pain that brushes like sandpaper against one of my own.  And it consumes me in the moment as I feel to the depths of my soul.

I hold them in my mind as if I hold them in my arms and I weep with them.  I pray and I weep.

And normally, it would feel good to write.  Normally it would make sense to write.  Because somehow in writing, things would get worked out.  Somehow in writing, some sense would be made of it all.

Somehow in writing, a transformation would take place.

But I can’t.  And I surely can’t here.  It wouldn’t be right.  It’s not my life to share.  I feel pain, but the source does not belong to me.

But yet it is on my mind and it is all I can think of as I need to write.

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After-Halloween Creative Costuming!


Caitlin Space Cadet

Caitlin Space Cadet

I just had to share with you a couple photos from our “After-Halloween Costume Party” tonight! I never cease to be amazed at the incredibly talented, interesting and creative people I get to call friends. :)  And you know what? I’m so glad that they are not afraid to just be and share their beautiful selves. :)

The first photo is of dear Caitlin in her “space cadet” costume. Isn’t she beautiful? I did use a b/w filter on the photo, but her outfit was amazing! That tunic belonged to one of her great aunts and is from the 60′s! What doesn’t show up as well in the filter I used is that the whole tunic is in silver with shiny metallic striping.  So she definitely gets props for the genuine article!  Caitlin’s a Latin major and incredibly crafty and creative.  And she’s been a wonderfully positive influence on my kids for years.  ;)  You can check out her work on her blog “Isn’t It.”

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

The second is a photo of my friend Debra’s rabbit friend.  You know how I am with crochet?  That’s how Debra is about quilting. (See, I know lots of crafty, crafty people!)

So anyway, Debra came dressed as her inner child! And apparently this unusual rabbit, stuffed in her backpack, has been her buddy for years. When I looked at him through my camera, I couldn’t help by hear him awkwardly say “Cheese!”

He looks just about as uncomfortable as I do when someone tries to get me to pose for a picture.  “Ok, now tilt your head a little to the right. Turn your chin a little to the left. Now, do a hand stand and hold it.”

Yeah, that’s the feeling alright. I commiserate with you dude.
Thanks for playing.

Jessica as Mirth

Jessica as Mirth

Lastly is a photo of my daughter Jessica, dressed as a character she’s created named Mirth.

Expect to hear more about Mirth and her adventures in the future over on her own blog called Attack Of The Plot Bunnies.

There are plenty more costumes at our house right now, but I will have to take more photos before you can see them.  So stay tuned while I get back to my guests and you have a wonderful night!


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Life Enriched: My Fascination With Spiders And Webs


spiderwebinafternoonsun

9 foot Halloween spider web!

I’ve owed you guys a post and explanation about the whole spider web fest going on in my yard and in my designs.  I also owe you some more photos, since after all, last night was Halloween!  (You gotta see what I did!) So I guess it’s about time I give.

First with the writing.
Later with the Halloween photos.

Truthfully, I’ve had an enigmatic fascination with spiders since childhood. One of my favorite childhood stories was about a pet wolf spider named Wolfie.  (Come to think of it, oddly enough, I later had a cat I also named Wolfie after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I only made the pet spider – pet cat connection just now though. Interesting.)  I was also the first one my girlfriends called when the creepy-crawlies showed up in their space. Julia the spider-wrangler to the rescue.

I love spiders. Fiercely like most people don’t.

Energetically, I think spiders – especially cobweb spiders – often naturally show us where the stagnant places are in our homes – those neglected areas that need attention. They create action where there is none. Metaphorically, I try to imagine Grandmother Spider pointing out things that need attention in my life and I try to picture where that would be. “Oh look here honey. You forgot this area. Here, let me help freshen it up.”

Garden spiders – I see them a little differently. Grandmother Spider’s protective nature seems to come out in them, in a delicate and breathtakingly beautiful way.   Then there are the little black jumping spiders I generally nickname simply “Harry.”  They show Grandmother Spider’s nature to dance in the sunlight and play.

I also often talk about how spiders are Mother Nature’s first fiber artists and I adore their individual and distinctive webs. Water_drops_spider_web_800px.jpgOrb spiders are particularly fascinating in their design! They have such interesting and distinct designs, each one using a special technique and signature marking of its silk fibers.  I’m fascinated by the focus, patience and skill each spider displays, not to mention their grace and dance. Each web is like a fingerprint and I’ve toyed more than once with the idea of making a collection of different crochet spider webs, recreated to the design specifics of each unique species. It would be a neat undertaking.

I watch spiders, play with them, catch them, study them, and hold them in a place of reverence.

And that’s the truth.

But the truth is far more complex than just that alone.  There’s another side to it.  While I adore spiders, I also deeply distrust and fear them.  Almost inexplicably.

It’s a paradox.

You’d think with all my spider experience and fascination, that I’d be the first to own a tarantula or at least to pet them at a zoo.

But not me. Not by a long shot. Just watching someone else hold one gives me the creeps.

You see, another part of the truth is, there’s a constant attraction/revulsion magnetic thing going on inside of me when it comes to spiders. And I’ll never let them touch me. I just can’t. No matter how fascinating spiders are to me.

I can’t. do. that.

And I won’t allow the poisonous ones to live. Those are two lines I can’t budge on.

Needless to say, I have trust issues. As long as I can see them, I’m just fine away from it unless I have a jar – thank you.  Come near me, surprise me, crawl on me?  Forget it.  I’m your worst enemy.

How’d it all come to be?  I’m not sure I know.

But philosophically, I deal with it the same way I deal with every other challenge in my life. Education and observation.  If I’m going to be afraid of something, I want to understand it very, very well.  I’m just not into this fear of the unknown crud. Far easier to deal with fear of what I do know.  So show me that face.

445px-Steatoda_fg01

Common Cobweb Spider

My earliest memory of a spider is actually from a dream I had when I was about 4-5 years old. A honey colored little cobweb spider suddenly grew from a tiny little creeplie in the kitchen corner into a giant creature before my eyes. And then it told me (still dreaming here) that it was going to devour me. Yup. It said plainly, “Julia, I’m going to eat you.”

Right. Well at least it’s honest. Awesome.

And in my dream, fearlessly like a dutiful little daughter, I stood there staring up at the enormous creature and said frankly, “Don’t eat me; eat my dad. He’s bigger!”

I have no idea why I still remember that young dream, other than out of some sort of sense of guilt. But my adventures with spiders had only begun.

The next spider introduced to my childhood was the docile wood spider. Silly little bumbling creatures that are visibly more scared of humans than any other spider I know. They practically fall all over themselves just trying to run away from you. I tried to find a photo of one for you, but have been unable to locate one.  And I’m guessing the name “wood spider” is probably one of those “folk names” that families hand down and is not likely an “official” name.

The wood spiders I grew up with are simply brown and tan striped and look similar to wolf spiders, though not nearly as husky or hairy, nor nearly as brave.  They are the first spiders to run at the site of you or when the light is flipped on.  They liked to live in my dad’s wood shop and warehouse at work and some were so big, I wondered if maybe they were really hairless tarantulas instead, only more leggy and less body. And except for the fact that they seemed to trip over their own legs a lot.  In fact, I’ve never seen another kind of spider that seemed as likely to simply lose a leg as this one.  It was around this time that I first read Wolfie and other books on spiders.

It wasn’t too long later when I got to see tarantulas.  Like, a lot of them.  Somewhere around that time, there was a bumper crop of brown tarantulas out in the Wichita Mountains outside my home town. I remember we were on our way to and from a drive up Mount Scott, and the road was covered in brown tarantulas. So many of them were being smashed by cars going by. There was no way for the vehicles to avoid them and the tarantulas were coming out of the bushes into the road in droves. It was like some sort of giant tarantula migration. I stared at the numbers of mangled bodies on the road and felt both sad for their misfortune, yet thankful that they couldn’t jump into our car (I hoped). And still, they kept coming.  I could see they’d never have a chance against a motorized vehicle. Silently I wished they could hear me think at them, “Please don’t cross the road! There’s nothing there but danger!” Part of me really, really wanted to see one up close and to save all the spiders. And part of me just wanted to be the hell out of there.

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

As mentioned above, I was also introduced to a species of jumping spider that I simply call “Harry.”  I remember them playing/hunting on my Grandma Leona’s sliding glass doors and crawling the ceilings at home. I used to tap on the glass near them to make them jump.  They always struck me as a weird combination of cats and dogs in personality.  Cat-like reflexes with dog-like enthusiasm and play.  They are amazingly gifted at catching flies! And unlike brown recluses, I have never been attacked or stalked by one of these, even though they are hunting spiders. When they are scared, they like to warn you by jumping a bit like a dog does when barking at a stranger. But I find usually they lose their initial fear pretty quickly and like to play.

Dangerous Brown Recluse (Fiddleback) Spider

Dangerous Brown Recluse (Fiddleback) Spider

Fun, more docile spiders were not to be the sum total of my experience though.  Brown recluses soon crossed my young path and set a precedence for everyday survival, as you might remember from my stories past. It’s a story born of necessity. A clan of spiders surrounded my work space, and for years no one would believe me they were there. So out of sheer survival, I learned more about “fiddle-backs” than any normal child. Probably just deserts for offering my father up as a replacement snack long ago. Even if it was only in a dream.

Let’s fast forward…

Over time, as I watched spiders and noted their individual web designs, I became more and more fascinated. And I tried to share this fascination with my children, so they would learn the differences between the spiders they saw and come to appreciate their gifts and lessons too.  Some of the best entertainment we had together with spiders actually came from blowing bubbles into the webs garden spiders would weave on porches between roof and banister.  The glycerine bubbles and the tiny bubble blower you can get from Gymboree are the best.  Watching a spider attack a bubble only to have it pop is a sight to see.  They don’t have facial expressions and yet, somehow you know what’s going through their minds by watching their body language.  One spider was really upset that she could not find that fly she knew she just caught.  We never laughed so hard!

But in all of this, I can’t say I’ve lost my revulsion either.  I still can’t hold a spider.  I still don’t like being surprised by them.  I hate it when they drop on me from my ceiling and oh yes, I will scream and dance and throw things and hunt until I find it, because I can’t stand the idea that it might be inside my clothes somewhere.

And that moment you walk through a web you didn’t see?  Umm, yeah -  I still go ballistic-ninja. If you ever see me dancing around a yard, fencing with a stick, now you know what’s probably up.  I know it was a comedy, but I totally related to the scene in the movie “Arachnophobia” when that spider crawled up the main character’s body.  Only I’m not paralyzed by it.  I’m transformed into a something my kids don’t recognize as me.

Some years ago, at our old house, we had two mimosa trees in front of our house.  I decided to crochet a spider web and hang it up, doing my best to make and pose it as realistically as possible.  Noting little bits I’d observed in just watching how garden spiders will craft and hang their webs.  There has to be proper tension and support.

And it grew from there, every Halloween, into what you see today.

sideviewofspiderwebinaction_watermarkedMaybe someday I will overcome the fear part of my revulsive fascination with spiders. And maybe not. (I’m thinking after all this time, the later is most likely.)  But unlike others, I do face my fear dead on, day after day.  It’s called working with your fear, not judging it, not pushing it, not making it into anything that it isn’t.

By accepting my fear and distrust of spiders, and by embracing it, I also allow myself to still see the wonder in amazing creatures and their personalities and talents that I might otherwise miss.

And perhaps that’s what overcoming really is.  Perhaps that alone sets me free.


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Filed under Halloween, It's An Aberrant Life, NaBloPoMo, Writing

There is nothing wrong with your computer screen. You are about to participate in a great adventure. It’s NaBloPoMo Time Again!


It’s that time of year! Consider yourself fairly warned!

This is nothing new for those of you who have followed me for a while, but for those of you who are new to my annual November habit, get ready for an awesome exercise in writing.  I do this every year!  

Starting tomorrow November 1st, I shall be stepping up my game and madly striving to write 30 posts in 30 days for the annual #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) November Challenge. But admittedly I don’t do it quite like the bare minimum rules. I actually try to make every single post count.

I’m registered, got my badge up, I’m ready to go.

The first week is usually easy enough, the second week not too bad, come Thanksgiving and well we’re all scrambling to make our daily deadline.  “Excuse me dear child of mine… you volunteered me for what at the school Thanksgiving Feast??”  There’s always more to deal with than initially imagined.

Last year, I flat-out lost the challenge on Thanksgiving Day.  And for the first time ever, I lost it big time. We cooked all day, spent Thanksgiving dinner with family and did not get back home before midnight in time for me to post for the day. So that was only one day, but then with the move and us packing, everything fell apart after that and alas I didn’t get in another post for the 2012 challenge.

SO!  This year will be different!  I will win the goal!

Cheer me on?  Please? :D

Good content, bad content, doesn’t matter for NaBloPoMo.  Though I do promise you, personally – I don’t like to write throw-away posts. I view my blog as a writing exercise opportunity, not a blather box.  So though it’s not supposed to be part of the challenge, I will try to maintain my quality and the interest my pieces have.  And I like to experiment with different styles.

The NaBloPoMo challenge is, in a nutshell, all about making the commitment to sit down, to write and to publish every day, minimum one blog post a day, pushing our writing skills to the max and without exception! Even when all our ideas are dried up!  Even though we have jobs. Even though we have kids.  Even though we get sick.  Even though our Thanksgiving turkey blows up.  Whatever!  Can ya do it?

Think it’s easy?  Let’s see you try.  Join us over at NaBloPoMo.

Why do I participate in this madness every single year? Well, I happen to enjoy writing, but this haiku probably explains it best.

Anyone else?

Leave a comment in this post along with a link to your blog (and brief description) if you’re participating so we can support each other and even so non-participators can cheer us on! (We’ll need it closer we get to the end of the month, trust me!)

Supporters, post your cheers and websites liberally in the comments as well!

BlogHer took over the management of this challenge/contest (yes, there are even prizes) a couple of years ago, so the entry process is a little different from what you might remember if it’s been awhile since you participated. Be sure to read the links below if you want to get involved. It’s free!

The NaBloPoMo main front page here: http://www.blogher.com/blogher-topics/blogging-social-media/nablopomo

This year’s details here: http://www.blogher.com/novembers-nablopomo-here

Badge Here: http://www.blogher.com/nablopomo-november-2013-badges


Good luck everyone!

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )


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Did You Miss Out On This #Crochet Goodness?


So over the last week we’ve had a very interesting discussion going on Twitter about crochet hooks and hand holds.  Which do you use and what’s your favorite?  We’ve covered a few other details too.  But the conversation got so big, it spilled over into the weekend!  (By all means, jump in and add your say too!)

It’s been so amazing, that I wanted to not only recognize the voices in the field, but to extend an invitation to the rest of my crochet peeps to join the conversation over my blog and Facebook.  Because I know not everyone is on Twitter and your voice counts too!

You see, I’m asking questions of crocheters around the world because I really want to know.  It may sound odd, but it’s really important to me to hear about your hooks and how you use your hands and tools.  And as much as I want very much to show up in your town and sit down with you over coffee and tea (maybe pie) and watch you crochet, chances are it won’t be happening this year.  (Soon I hope, but sadly not this year.)

My  mind is on it and so I’m asking you for input now.  Grab your cyber sips and consider reading on.  Who knows, maybe it’ll lead to a live conversation down the road too. ;)

So far the Twitter convo has been fascinating!

It all started with my Twitter post and @MMAAC‘s response.

It all started with...

It all started with…

Little did I know that a firestorm was about to start.  160 tweets later that first day (and that’s not counting my tweets – just everyone else’s) my phone was blowing up with the huge response!  Which was rather funny, because my hubby was like, “Really? Can’t you get your crochet friends under control?”

What can I say, we’re a wild bunch we.

We talked about holds, we talked about hooks that have broken on us, we talked about glass, bone, forged and felted hooks!  Plus we even offered help to other crocheters working on various things.  And I learned a few things! Besides just some random answers to the questions I was asking!

I learned from @umarndt that she can’t get Susan Bates style hooks where she lives in the UK! Something hard for me to imagine since it’s one of the only readily available styles at the stores here in the US.

No Bates?

No Bates?

Several people hadn’t really thought about different ways to hold crochet hooks.  It was really interesting to hear from each.

More_than_Grannys_way

My crochet friend @CrochetWithDee mentioned how nice bone hooks can be when I mentioned I’ve thought about picking up some porcupine quills to try carving with. Dee says she’d love to try it out.  And truly, I know she likes to test a lot of hooks!  The only thing is, I know that porcupine quills are actually hollow porcupine “hair.”  So I’m not sure if it will work.  I need to get a hold of one to try.

No one has made a porcupine quill crochet hook yet. I aim to be the first.

I haven’t seen a porcupine quill crochet hook yet. I aim to make the first.

And of course Dee and I thought of several other ideas.

Crochet_hook_cabinet_handles crochet_hook_surrealism_art

Dee also suggested wrapping a crochet hook handle with roving, such as some do with tape!

Roving wrapped handles!

What a concept: roving wrapped handles!

And sure enough, I found a felted crochet hook on Flickr and even more for sale on Etsy.  So if you hadn’t thought of it, good ‘ol fiber might be a great way to modify your hooks!

Felted crochet hooks exist!

Felted crochet hooks exist!

Then @ProbablyCraftin brought up something that no real crocheter of any lengthy experience doesn’t at least think about sometime – a beeper to find our hooks when they’re missing.  Seriously, why hasn’t one of us invented this?  Well… ok I know why I haven’t yet.

Seriously, we need to invent something for this.

Seriously, we need to invent something for this.

After talking about some antique hooks Dee reminded us all about Hook Lady, who has tons of insight and information when it comes to antiques.

In the middle of our convo, I came across @knottyfingers bit of wisdom, which I just thought was great.

invest_in_yourself

My buddy Andee weighed in too.

Andee_likes_ALL_hooks

We got some amazing input on hook preferences and personal stories!

Learned_From_Grandma
longer_hooks_please

Not_everyone_likes_a_wood_hook

@CrochetAllDay and @moseley_bonny jumped in with input and shared a photo of their hands.  Irene’s hand and finger positions are very interesting!  See the differences between the two?

Irene's fingers.

Irene’s fingers. Overhand hold.

Bonnie's hold.

Bonnie’s underhand hold.

It was great!  And it was an AMAZING experience! It was like a mini-convention over Twitter.  I just wish we were live and maybe sharing some cake too or something!

There were tons of Twitter favorites and retweets, but the sea of folks you see listed below have all been amazing contributors to the actual #crochet conversation.  (I hope I covered anyone – yell at me if I didn’t catch someone!)

@_quietlife @LillieShairrick @Edwyna7 @CraftyGirlMerch @MamaO @NurtureMyBaby @macdog73 @FiberValleyGirl @Cynical_Woman @PennamitePLR @Mamas2hands @becreech @TammyOnTheRadio @umarndt @CrochetAllDay @CrochetLibFront @kymccord1 @CrochetWithDee @PollySpin @phillygirl64 @LauraDryad @ProbablyCraftin @Slackermom66 @designsbyzula @breigaren @SaysellCrochet @candypow @MaryKnitsPDX @@Scruggbug @Amie__Foster @LateBloomer1982 @made222 @ItsMeMaven @AmbassdrCrochet @Craftypodes @CarlaHeirlooms @MMAAC @SHorton2012 @mikikala @abbyrascal

If you haven’t gotten to know these crochet peeps yet, I recommend you do!  :)  So count this as my #FollowFriday recommends, even though it’s not Friday.  (Be a rebel.  Break the rules!)

Why?  Because these peeps are real.  They analyze and they converse.  And they have no bones about having a public conversation over hooks and yarn they like or don’t like, good experiences and bad.  Several of these names are designers – some indie, some not.  And they definitely are all worth following if you like crochet.  Just sayin.’

(Any companies lurking my blog, this is a hint to you.)

Why was this so amazing?  Because we don’t talk about it enough.  These are parts of our crochet story that we haven’t explored all that much.  And it actually matters.  We’re united in that we crochet, but we are unique in how we do it and what works best for us.  We are unique in how we add to the craft.  There’s valuable data here.  And there’s an amazing story here too!  I want to take the time to listen and learn.

So what about you?  How do you hold your hook?  What kind of hook did you learn to crochet with?  What kind of hook do you like best now? I really want to know!  And if you know why, tell me that too!  And don’t just stop there: if you know crocheters who would be willing to share their insight with me too, please let them know about this post!

But no matter what, unless (as my friend Andee Graves has pointed out) it causes you pain or discomfort, just remember….

There's no wrong way to crochet!

There’s no wrong way to crochet!

 

I look forward to your response!

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.” You know you want to! : )


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Help Me Travel The World To Study Hands And Crochet Hooks!


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Halloween Spider Invasion!


Yep, the web is that big.

Yep, the web is that big. And he’s 5’10″

The first layer of the mission is complete.  The giant web has been put up.  The first spider has been hung with care.  The infestation has begun!  And I’ve been waiting for this moment all year.

We have a tradition in October. And I kind of consider it part of my birthday fun.  Near the beginning of the month, I put up a lone spider web in the front yard. After a couple days, I put a spider out near the web somewhere. Then every couple more days, we add another and another, until it’s a veritable invasion!

But it’s been a while.  For too long I’ve had to wait to pull out my spider webs.  But no more sitting Halloween out now!

What’s this all about?

Well, at our old house, we once had two mimosa trees out front.  I used to string up my spider webs between the trees and the house, sometimes across the porch and of course there were spiders on every branch and column.

However, mimosas are not long lived trees, especially here as they are not native to the U.S..  Ours were already old when we moved there and showing signs of struggle.  Eventually they died and we had to take them out.

With the trees gone, I tried hanging the giant web across the side of the house or something else at Halloween, but it just wasn’t the same.

I mean, spiders don’t do that.  They don’t make a giant web on the face of anything.  They make webs in corners and across open spaces.  And I’m a stickler for at least a slice of reality when it comes to Mother Nature’s fiber artists.

What I really wanted was a large space my webs could totally rock.  100_2662But without the trees, our yard was a wide open space.  I had one spot between the tiny porch and a wall that I could awkwardly hang one.  And I managed to anchor some spiders on some windows and the porch columns.  And I used my web on the side of my booth tent when I did shows.  Which was a nice visual.

But last year, with our house under contract and our family busy packing, the spiders and their webs didn’t even see the light of day.

But it didn’t mean they were forgotten.  Far from it.

The amazing cluster of live oaks out front. Well, about half of it anyway. It's that big.

The amazing cluster of live oaks out front. Well, about half of it anyway. It’s that big.

The house we bought wasn’t even for sale until the first weekend in October last year.  We jumped at a viewing the 2nd day it was on the market.  And while we hadn’t even put in an offer yet, I knew from the moment I walked up the path that I couldn’t wait to hang my spider webs in those marvelous trees!

And while it’s not like my spider web display was a reason for buying this house, it’s definitely a bonus I have been looking forward to so very much.  There are so many trees on our lot, not to mention the back 2nd floor deck.  I look forward to adding more webs and spiders and glorious fibery decor over the years.  Well… as much as hubby will let me get away with.  ;)  It’s his home too.  But in October, yeah…  it’s all mine and the spiders.

sideviewofspiderwebinaction_watermarked

Side view of the giant spider and web

I didn’t have much room at the old house to put up my clan of spiders and webs.  But here, there are lots of trees and room for creativity at the new place.  And FINALLY, we have a place large enough to host our first Halloween party.  And I’m so excited.

So wait and see!

I have some fun ideas in store, that includes my spider horde, Amy Pond and our Tardis blue front door.  And I will be sharing photos!  I’m a bit limited in mobility thanks to the foot, so my ladder climbing will have to be delegated or forgone.  But I am determined to have some amazing Halloween cosplay crafty fun!

Need some ideas for Halloween yourself?

Well then I invite you to check out my collection of Halloween Obsessions on Pinterest.  I also have boards for Steampunk and Sci-Fi Obsessions too.  Maybe you’ll find some inspiration in my picks.  And maybe you’ll share some with me back.  ;)

So uh… What’s The Deal With Spiders…?

Well, I suppose you could use some back-story. I mean after all, how did I become the spider web lady?  It’s not exactly a past-time most women would pick.  And why on earth would I want to crochet species specific spider webs?

Well, it’s not exactly a simple back-story.  So hang on for Part 3 and I’ll let you in on a little secret….


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The Spider Invasion Has Begun!


Part 1:  Or…  “My Supplication To The Gods Of Seasons,”  As It Were….  Is that a change in the air…?

We had our first actual taste of fall weather here in Austin the day before the fall equinox.  And I do mean taste.

Not just that metaphorical brief fleeting experience of an amazing flavor. But that thing you experience: when the air you breathe outside has more than just essence, but a distinctively fresh flavor to it. And it’s a breathful taste that I find invigorating.

Yep, the web is that big.

Yep, the web is that big. And he’s 5’10″.
Want one? Click the picture.

For here in Central Texas, we don’t often finally get to taste fall until later in the year. You know… closer to winter.

We’re always behind the rest of the world in our spring and fall seasons.  And when the seasons do arrive here, they are generally more like speed bumps in the switch between two main seasons of hot and cold.  A veritable two-week tribute to spring or fall, but so rarely a full court press of the real thing.

Never the case with summer though.  Never with summer at all. Do you miss summer where you are?  Come visit us in July and get your fill.  You’ll never miss it (or us) ever again.

So to have that first taste of fall arrive here on the actual equinox is like some sort of amazing blessing. Nay.  It’s more than that. It’s a sign.  A bright sparkly one.  The seasonal gods have smiled upon us this year.

Miniature snowman scraped together off the truck.

Miniature snowman scraped
together off the truck long ago.

Dear seasonal gods:  While we have your attention, could we maybe have a snow day this winter?? With real snow to play with and not just wet ice?  I mean, if you don’t mind and all. After all, it’s been years.  The kids are teens now. And well, we want to make snowmen together again, even if only miniature ones. Oh! And snow ice cream too.  …oh please, please, please…

But please also make sure no one has to get out and drive in it though. No one here knows how.

At the first hint of “the taste,” I immediately threw open all the windows. Fresh air in the house, it’s so wonderful. And it whispers to me. Not only were we blessed with an actual spring this year (lasting more than two weeks), we’ll be blessed with an actual fall too. :)

With October finally here, the most wickedly fun of all holiday months (and dear hubby’s and my birthday month), I’m feeling more alive. Even if more in spirit than in body.

And that’s saying a lot. Because I haven’t felt myself since breaking my right ankle at the end of the summer road-trip adventure that I took with my teens. It’s been two months + 11 days of blurred trauma, surgery, and complications. :/ As of today, I’ve only just been walking about 3 weeks.. ish.

There’s definitely an interesting story to tell there, and one I want to share with you, as I’ve learned quite a bit too.  But it’s a story that will have to wait for now.

spiderwebinafternoonsunWhy?  Because the spider invasion has begun at our house, and it demands adoration. Its story refuses to be put off.

Well, at least not after tomorrow.

Stay tuned for part 2….


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Juicy Crochet News: Catch Me In Print!


I’ve been sitting on some juicy professional #crochet news for a few months now.  :)

Julia_headshot_July_2013And I’m sorry I couldn’t share it with my peeps sooner – but you know how professional things can go.

However, the time has finally come that I can share it!

Are you ready?

Well…

.

.

I was asked to write a technical article about crochet hooks!  :D

And…

It turned into two articles!  :) 

The first’s about hook shapes and the second’s about hand holds!

Kinda cool huh! :D

And it’s for Interweave Crochet!  Yep!
You can check out the preview for the issue here!

If you’ve known me awhile, then you know how passionate I am about crochet and especially crochet hooks.  To me, we don’t pay enough attention to our tools!  Even though our tools make up such a huge part of the equation when it comes to the outcome of our crochet designs!  wpid-2012-09-25_20-57-13_-2.0Ev-2.jpgNot to mention our crochet comfort, control and frustration levels.  So I was really excited at the opportunity to “preach the gospel,” so to speak!

This Interweave Crochet hook article combo is one of the largest freelance writing endeavors I’ve ever worked on.  And of course after pouring so much crochet heart into them, I can’t help but be excited that I get to share it with Interweave Crochet and their readers!

So please watch for the issues, check out the articles and feel free to ask questions and give feedback!  I’m confident these articles will be unlike anything you’ve ever read in a publication about hooks before.  And I’m so excited that the world of hooks, hands and their variations is getting more attention! :D  I mean, just how many articles have you seen dedicated to crochet tools and the hands that hold them!

Yay! Hookey goodness! :D

So… you gotta go check it out!  The first article on hook shapes will be in your next Fall 2013 Issue of Interweave Crochet.  The second article will show up in the Winter 2013 issue.  Some Interweave subscribers already have the first (I know because you emailed me  – thanks for letting me know!), so if you subscribe and  haven’t received your magazine yet – you will soon!  I haven’t received mine yet either, so I’m waiting too!  And if you like the efforts Interweave Crochet is making in advancing crochet knowledge, please let them know! :)

For those of you who buy your magazines off the stand, you’ll likely have to wait until September 16th.  The summer issue will be on display until then, at least in the U.S..

So there you go!  There’s the big news I’ve hung on to!  

But stay tuned, because that’s not the only bit of juicy news I have to share!  Next up, I have to tell you about my summer trip with my kids across the country, our visit with Laurie Wheeler from The Crochet Liberation Front and her family, a sweet yarn shop in Denver, and more!

Not to mention, we have a lot of catching up to do!  Catch you on the flip side!

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet Community, Crochet Hooks, Crochet News