Friday, September 25, 2009

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!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

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.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Help! I am being eaten by a giant afghan!

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...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

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.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.