Where did Andee Go?

It has been over a month since I last posted on here on the blog.  Things got a little crazy as the month of May drew nearer and the start of June has been almost as bad.

May was already looking to be a full month with deadlines for design projects, last month of school activities for my kids as well as shearing and lambing season at the farm. Then to add interest to it all my whole family came down with a very unpleasant stomach bug/fever thing that took 3 weeks to go thru all of us. It has really only been in the last 2 and a half weeks that I have felt fully recovered.

In the meantime the weeks march on and I’ve been playing catch-up. Been super busy on the sheep farm with shearing and lambing. I hope to share some fun posts with you about all that very soon. The above photo is most of our ewes after shearing. One of our oldest lambs, Gertie, is looking confused because everyone was skinnier and much less fluffy.

I have also been working on lots of crochet designs that will be published over the next 3 months.  Including my latest design that the Casual Crochet group at Longmont Yarn Shoppe is testing for me. Currently it is called “Testing Pool Shawl 2018” but I’ll give it a better name once it is ready for publication. Last year’s testing pool pattern was named after one of the testers, so we will probably do that again.

Since I wasn’t already busy enough (ha!) I am also headed out for some business trips this month and next. I’ll be going to the TNNA Summer Show in Cleaveland, Ohio the end of this week, then the last week of July will see me traveling to Portland, Oregon for the CGOA conference.

Once the conference ends I will be staying in Portland for a couple of days to attend the Craft Yarn Council’s Crochet Instructor’s Program. Then I will be spending a couple of days visiting a friend that lives north of Portland before heading home.

Between my 2 business trips, we will have family coming to visit. My dear mother-in-law the end of June, then my younger brother is coming out for a working vacation after July 4th to help me repair our deck.

I think this summer is going to slip by way too fast. I promise to try and get more up on the blog the next couple of months. Though some of my posts may just be photos with short captions if things continue as crazy as this summer started.

The Challenges of Being a Designer

Yesterday I was planning to get a new blog post up, in fact a post with an awesome new free pattern. Unfortunately the best laid plans can go awry and they did.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day I wanted to give all my lovely readers an early gift that you could use to give as a gift. Whew that was a convoluted sentence.

So I sat down with yarn and hook to make this lovely gift card holder. I thought I had taken very good notes on how to crochet it. Instead I’ve been running into issues recreating my sample when following the pattern I wrote from those notes. I’m resolving these issues, but it is taking more time than I had originally allotted.

If all my lovely readers can send some good thoughts my way that might help. Hopefully I will have this fun little pattern ready for you all by Friday morning. Fingers crossed.

Thanksgiving with Family

Today is Thanksgiving day here in the US. For my family it is a day to get together with family and friends for a big meal and be thankful for what we have.

In keeping with this year’s tradition of school holidays, the kids are both sick with pink-eye and colds. It’s looking like himself and I are fighting off the cold part as well. I’m at least grateful for not having to juggle the kids missing school days along with everything else.

Another thing I am thankful for is the training I have had in medical science. I treated the kids with Lavender essential oil and raw honey until himself could take the them to the doctor. Both kids have reported that their eyes are no longer itching. The doctor only gave my youngest eye drops because he was the only one with swelling and discharge.

Fortunately today I’m feeling a lot better and my youngest seems to be turning the corner. My younger brother and his girlfriend came up for dinner, but stayed in a hotel in town to avoid too much time with the germs. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the 2 of them for the past month.

New Christmas Tree 2

Tomorrow we will be decorating our new Christmas Tree. This year I decided it was time for a skinnier tree. We have always had an artificial tree because of himself’s allergies. We have a very full house between the kids’ stuff and my yarn, so I’ve been campaigning for a smaller tree. I was especially attracted to the “pencil” trees that I had seen, and to the “pre-lit” trees.

My least favorite part of decorating the tree is fighting with putting on the lights. I’m so excited to finally have a “pre-lit” tree! We will also be decorating a big swath of greenery over our largest living room window too. That way we can put out some of the ornaments the animals like to attack.

For many folks Thanksgiving marks the beginning of Christmas shopping with Black Friday sales at all the big retailers. I hope some of you will be looking at shopping also on Small Business Saturday to support small businesses that make up the back bone of the US economy.

Flatirons Shawl - 1d sm - Andee Graves M2H Designs
Flatirons Shawl
Kellie Cowl - Andee Graves M2H Designs
Kellie Cowl
WWC Stacked drape view - Andee Graves M2H Designs
Whispering Winds Cowl
vivianne-shawl-andee-graves-m2h-designs-a2
Vivianne Shawl

Speaking of Small Business Saturday, I’ll be offering 10% off any 2 patterns in my Ravelry Shop to all my wonderful readers. Just put 2 of my patterns in your cart then use the coupon code SBS2017Thanks to get the discount. This coupon code will only be good on Saturday, November 25, 2017 from 1 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Mtn Time.

Thank you to all my dear readers for your support of my very small business.

Tempus Fugit (Time Flies)

The past couple of months have slipped by too fast. Strange that I feel that way, as while I was in each individual day they seemed to drag. This all reminds me of something a friend told me the day before my first son was born, “Motherhood is full of long days and short years.”

I think the “long days and short years” are true for all of us, parents or not, especially as we get older.

I remember being startled in my 20s when I was talking on the phone with my younger sister. She was still in high school living in Kansas and I was living in Colorado. She was asking me if I was coming back to visit for Home Coming. I told her that was a few months away and I didn’t know if I could, she told me it was the following week. It had seemed to me at the time that the new school year had just started. That is the first time I really remember that feeling that time was moving faster than it felt.

It’s only gotten more noticeable as I’ve added years to my personal odometer.

Honestly, my boys just got out of school for summer break and Halloween was yesterday.  Now I’m feeling the insanity of the BIG holidays coming down the highway. For my family that is Thanksgiving (USA) and Christmas. We are going to have company for both holidays this year so I need to kick it into high gear.

My fantasy of a relaxed December may be out the window at this point. Being laid up with Whooping Cough for nearly 2 months has certainly narrowed down my prep time. But this may be a gift in its own way.  Nothing like having less time to help you prioritize and force you to let go of unrealistic fantasy.

Most of my remaining gift making is focused on smaller projects like slippers, hats, cowls and some snowflakes. So that will help me with completing things in a timely manner. Fortunately I don’t need to ship those gifts either, since the majority of my “crochet-worthy” friends and family will be here with us.

Christmas cards may suffer again. I seem to get worse about sending those out every year. I may have to do “Happy New Years” cards again instead. I’m just hoping at some point to really review this year, even 10 months into it 2017 has been incredibly busy and eventful, both on the personal and work fronts.

I’ll be playing catch-up for quite some time. If there is something that I mentioned earlier this year that you are waiting for, please drop me a reminder in the comments on this post and I’ll try to put it in the top 20 of my To-Do List. I hope everyone else is heading into the end of 2017 healthy and better prepared than me.

Chasing Rainbows

I’m still working on getting well from the Whooping Cough. I am past the constant coughing stage, but am currently wearing my ribs strapped because I have managed to cough a couple of ribs out of place. Friday afternoon my chiropractor got me fixed up and told me to wear the strapping until I had a full 48 hours pain free. Good thing the weather has cooled off a bit, this rib support is really warm.

Meanwhile, what is a busy crochet designer supposed to do with herself when she is stuck “resting” all the time? Design something of course. The best bit of my recovery is I feel like crocheting again, for a while there I was just too wiped out to do more than move my pillows around. I still need lots of sleep, but when I am awake I can crochet and watch movies.

I had 2 balls of Lion Brand’s “Shawl in a Ball” that I purchased this summer. I picked out the “Restful Rainbow” colorway because it has so many of my favorite colors in it.  I started a couple of different shawl ideas in it, but finally decided to go with my simple 2 x 2 pattern with increases for a top down wrap.

It’s perfect for crocheting on while watching movies and if I fall asleep while working on it, it isn’t confusing to figure out where I am in the row. I’ll be publishing this pattern later this fall here on the blog once I have finished my sample.

Meanwhile some other news. For those of you that are CGOA members you may have seen already, but I am one of the nominees for the CGOA Board of Directors. The voting begins November 1st thru December 26th, so be sure that your membership is current and vote for your top 4 picks from the nominees. I hope you will vote for me as I know I have a lot to bring to the board and CGOA.

If you want to join CGOA there is no time like the present. You can find out everything you need to join at the CGOA website: Crochet.org. When you think Crochet, think CGOA!

The Long Road

Snowy Morning
First snow of the 2017 Autumn

Sorry for going so silent the past couple of weeks folks, it may be quiet here on the blog for awhile yet.  Turns out I’ve been super sick with Whooping Cough.

My youngest came down with it the last week of August. I had no idea that was what it was. We thought it was just a mild cold and fever thing. After all he had received his last inoculation for Whooping Cough in May 2014. Both boys had. Unfortunately turns out that isn’t a guarantee that they wouldn’t catch it. Because of his vaccination he had a mild case, but the same can’t be said for the rest of us.

My older son and myself came down with it the 2nd week of September. We got a nasty case of it as did my husband a week after us. Now we know what we are fighting, we are all doing much better. I’ve been feeding us all healthfully and getting lots of sleep. Unfortunately sleeping is really all I want to do. So it will be some time before I can do an interesting post on here.

I’ve been too tired to do much crocheting, so I have been unraveling some old projects that have been in the “frog” pond. At least it is something constructive.

When a Motif isn’t a Motif

This past week has been another whirlwind as I was preparing for the Scottsbluff Fiber Arts Fair. Today was all about Needle Felting, I taught 2 classes on the subject.

The morning class was “Needle Felting in 3D” and my afternoon class was “Sweet Sheep Toy: Needle Felting”. Both classes were well attended and I had such a great time with my students.

The sheep class students really applied themselves to the project, and everyone left with a new appreciation for how to create needle felt toys.  Tomorrow I’ll be teaching a Learn to Crochet class for Knitters “The Crocheted Edge”. This was a fun class I originally developed for teaching at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. I’m looking forward to helping my fellow yarn crafters add crochet to their skills.

Speaking of crochet. I’m so excited to show you my 2 latest designs to be published in the October issue of the online magazine “I Like Crochet”.  Both of these designs were inspired by the idea of working fabric that has the appearance of little motifs without all the joining and tail weaving usually involved in that type of fabric. Instead the look of motifs is created by working continuous rows and using spike stitches gather the rows together. The edging and finish for each project is also worked continuously , so when you are finished with the crocheting, all you have left is weaving in a few ends and blocking

The “Sugar & Fig Cowl” is made in Berroco Yarns “Boboli Lace”, this is a colorful yarn with a lovely subtle sheen. The “motifs” are created in a 2 row repeat that is easy to memorize so you’ll have your cowl finished before you know it.

The “Cobbled Path Wrap” is a rectangular stole crocheted in Premier Yarns’ Deborah Norville “Serenity Sock”. The motif look in this design is worked in a 3 row repeat giving the look of ovals. This repeat is a tiny bit more challenging, but with the length of the wrap you will get into the swing of it pretty easily.

Both designs were worked in fingering weight yarns with lots of fluidity for finished projects with lovely drape and wearability.

If you don’t have a subscription to “I Like Crochet” then now is a great time to get one. This issue is filled with a number of lovely projects that can help you celebrate the fall season and that would make great gifts for the holidays.