Yes, I did get Something Done!

It is a little crazy how time goes by, and you never really take stock of it. There are many days when I feel that I have not accomplished much, if anything at all. Then there are days when I do a little reflecting and stumble upon, or at least look at the documents I use every day, that provide a listing of the works I have completed.
These listings might be staring me in the face, and I am not really looking at them. I keep a spread sheet of all the contracts I am working on and completed. I began this spread sheet when I sold my first design at the end of 2011, and I have currently filled 129 lines. I then have a listing of my self-published designs (that are not included on my contracted list) that I began in mid-2013, and find I have 29 completed with another 6 in progress.
When I actually think about the fact that I really have been on this adventure as a designer for less than 5 years, and I have completed 158 designs, I will be honest…in my mind it doesn’t sound like enough. For some reason I think that I have to have completed so much more. I still average 2.6 designs a month or .6 designs a week, but my mind wants me to finish more. (If you would like to see a majority of these, check out my Ravelry.com designer page….the number of designs listed is lower, but that gives you an idea of how things are constantly in the process).

 

Clean my desk...www.lindadeancrochet.com

I should give myself credit when I clean my desk. It catches all my ideas in various stages.

The only way I get my mind to find a little balance is to also place in this weekly schedule that I teach 2 days a week, nearly 20 students every week. That takes prep time, which takes knowledge of my skill, which takes time.
I then have to remember that I am mom to two very active kids. Active enough that one has me volunteered to lead a 4H sewing project every week. Both have me playing chauffer in running to various sports and activities (fortunately my husband does more than his fair share of this running around as well). So, I really only get work done when they are in school.
Then I usually overlook the many hours a week I donate to various organizations, mostly supporting crochet. These hours add up faster then I may think in the beginning of saying “yes” when asked to help.
Only when I finally spell it all out, do I feel like I have accomplished something. It may not be as readily tangible as would work for my mind, but this focus helps “rebalance” me in a sense, so thank you for following along my self-talk of taking stock.
Hopefully this taking “taking stock” will inspire the newest rounds of designs…hopefully it will keep me from beating myself up for a bit…I really do get more done then I think.

Simple Basket- Crochet for A Difference

There are various ways that crochet impacts organizations and individuals every day. I have always tried to use my crochet ability to make a local impact, so I want to share a crochet stitch and inspire you to Crochet For A Difference.

I have stated it in past posts, that crochet specialty stitch pattern names really are not known universally, but in order to make it clear about the stitch I am discussing I have to give it a name, so I want to share the Simple Basket Stitch Pattern with you.

Front post double crochet www.lindadeancrochet.com

Where to work a Front Post Double Crochet, insert the hook around the post.

This stitch pattern is worked in double crochet with the only variation being the Front Post Double Crochet. This Front Post stitch can seem intimidating, but essentially it is the same double crochet that you have always worked it is just in a different location. To work this stitch you begin with a yarn over and insert the hook around the body or post of the next stitch from the front to the back and then to the front again, and then work it as a regular double crochet by working a yarn over then pulling it through, then yarn over again and pull through two loops, twice.

To work the Simple Basket you need to create chain that is a multiple of 4, then add 2 more chains.

Row 1: Work a double crochet in each chain across, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, [front post double crochet in the next 2 stitches, double crochet in the next 2 stitches] repeating across until 1 stitch remains, double crochet in the last stitch, turn.

Simple Basket Stitch www.lindadeancrochet.com

Simple Basket Stitch

Repeat Row 2 until you have reached the desired length.

To help visually understand where each stitch goes so that you do not have to worry about counting, essentially if the stitch you are working into appears to be pushed forward then work a front post double crochet, if the stitch you are working into appears to be pushed away from you work it as a double crochet stitch.

The texture created gives a great visual as well as esthetic feel. It has a nice loft to it that really helps the stitch feel like it is harder than it is. This can create a great blanket that you may consider to donate to a homeless shelter. It is estimated that any given night in the United States that over 600,000 people were experiencing homelessness only 17% of those are consider chronically homeless (source greendoors.org). Meaning that a great percentage of those experiencing homeless on any given night, are in a short term housing situation and a simple blanket can make a difficult time a little more bearable. Find one in your community here.

The More I Teach, the More I Learn

Teaching crochet might sound like an interesting way to make a little extra money, but there is more to it than what you might think.

I have been teaching crochet for almost a decade, in a variety of venues with a variety of approaches. I began teaching consistently at a coffee shop, I set up a regular hour a week and had people drop in for lessons at their leisure. I also hosted my own workshops at a local winery, I taught workshops at local guild gatherings. I worked this approach for quite some time.

 The drop in lessons at the coffee shop always kept me on my toes. I never knew student may arrive or what they may want to learn. It kept me flexible, and always expanding my own education to keep up with the requests and needs of those seeking my service. This approach did have its down side however, as I never had any idea if anyone would even show up during these set hours. I had many a day that I would just sip my tea and people watch instead of having any students.

Hosting my own workshops way an interesting experience. I was responsible for everything, the location set up, the advertising, the accounts receivable/payable, as well as all the regular workshop expectations for handouts and material, I even made the refreshments. This helped me to recognize my own strengths and weaknesses, as well as a better appreciation for all the work and undertaking that goes into larger teaching/learning venues.

Teaching at the guild workshops had their own challenges, as I personally knew most of the students. I seemed surreal to me that people I knew actually wanted to pay to take a class from me. It was a safe place, but I had to ensure not to “let my guard down” in a sense. I want to keep things professional and this can be difficult when the room is filled with people that you share a different kind of relationship with. Thus, this experience helped me to understand some of my short comings as an instructor.

From these 3 teaching venues I grew into teaching at my local yarn store, as well as at national conferences. The local yarn store helped me to expand my student following, and introduce me to new people. It allowed me to focus on actual education without having to worry about the advertising, the enrollment, the location. I feel like I have a more formal footing on my class structure and can focus on various ways to explain various crochet approaches. I can better understand different learning styles and different personalities. This has helped me to better structure my classes for national conferences.

The difference from workshops at the local yarn store and those at conferences, is really the students. The local yarn store has a wide base of students, with varying needs and learning desires, those at conferences often are very focused on the topic at hand, and as a result the classes need to be geared to a more advanced student.

That might be the most challenging thing to putting a workshop together, ensuring that you have enough material to keep everyone engaged. It can be a delicate balance, and until you have the students in the room you never really know what the event will look like. You need to have enough material so that the advanced students are kept busy, while not have so much that you overwhelm students that may need more guidance.

The one underlying affect that teaching has, is seeing the joy and excitement your students have when it all clicks into place and they “get it”. I have heard this said by teachers of all sorts, it is a very unique experience that can become addicting. It is really the students that keep me coming back to teaching, they keep challenging me…something that I have always enjoyed.

I guess I can safely say that teaching has given me more than I would have imagined, every time I teach I learn something new. It might be from a question a student asks that causes me to look at the subject matter from a completely different vantage point, or it could be learning a better way to share my ideas and concepts with someone else. If teaching crochet is something you have considered, be prepared to grow.

Make It For Me- Flutterfall Shawl

ScannedImageThank you everyone joint me today from ELK Studio for the month long Make It For Me Event! (If you are not aware of this event, check it out here).

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Flutterfall Shawl By Linda Dean

I am happy to share my Flutterfall Shawl with you as my FREE pattern today. It is primarily created with just a chain stitch, and allows for a simple skein of yarn to go on for what seems like forever, and if you have a varigated yarn, it creates interesting pooling (more than might be usually apparent).

The design begins at the base of the neck and is increased at both sides as well as the center to create a flowing triangle, that is quite graceful.

The sample below is created with just 1 skein of a hand painted yarn, Lisa Souza Dyeworks Deluxe Sock! ( it is light weight, 80% superwash Merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere, 4oz/495yds), but the pattern can really be created with any yarn using an appropriate size hook. Just work it until you are happy with the size and add the edging.

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Flutterfall Shawl By Linda Dean

 

Flutterfall Shawl   by: Linda Dean (Get a Printable Version here for $2.00 US)

Stunningly simple, yet the effect is confident and enjoyable. This simple stitch pattern allows the yarn to be the star; it has great drape and fabulous flow. This is a design you will work up over and over again.

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner    Finished Size Approximately: 64”x 31”

Material List:

  • I/9/5.50mm crochet hook
  • Lisa Souza Dyeworks Deluxe Sock! Light weight 80% superwash Merino 10% nylon 10%Cashmere (4oz/495yrds) 1 skein
  • Tapestry needle

Gauge: 4 (sc, ch 3) groups/8 rows= 4”

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

dc: double crochet

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sk: skip

sp(s): space(s)

st(s): stitch(es)

Yo: yarn over

Pattern Note /Special Stitches

This pattern starts in the center middle and worked outward.

Shell- [dc, (ch1, dc) 4 times] in the same indicated stitch.

Row 1: Ch 2, [sc , (ch 3, sc) 3 times] all in 2nd  ch from hook, turn. -4 sc, (3) ch-3 sps

Row 2: Ch 6 (counts as dc and ch 3 now and throughout), sc in next sc, ch 3, dc in next ch-3 sp (place marker in dc to mark as center), ch 3, sc in next sc, ch 3, dc in last sc, turn. – 3 dc, 2 sc, (4) ch-3 sps

When working a (sc, ch 3, sc) into a marked dc, move the marker up to the ch-3 sp to mark the center of the shawl. When working a dc into a marked ch-3 sp, move the marker up to the dc to mark the center of the shawl.

Row 3: Ch 1, (sc, ch 3, sc) in same dc, ch 3, (sc in next sc, ch 3) across to marked st, (sc, ch 3, sc) in marked st,  ch 3, (sc in next sc, ch 3) across, ending with (sc, ch 3, sc) in 3rd ch of beg ch, turn.  –8 sc, (7) ch-3 sps

Row 4: Ch 6, (sc in next sc, ch 3) across to marker, dc in center ch-3 sp,  ch 3, (sc in next sc, ch 3) across to last sc, dc in last st, turn. -3 dc, 6 sc, (8) ch-3 sps

Row 5-52: Rep Rows 3 & 4 twenty-three times. – 3 dc, 102 sc, (104) ch-3 sps

Row 53: ch 1, sc in same st, [Shell in next sc, sc in next sc] around. Finish off. -52 shells, 53 sc

Finishing- Weave in ends and block.

Copywrite 2016 Linda Dean Crochet

A Review….A Little Early

ScannedImageI find myself a little ahead of myself. Usually during New Year’s I end up reflecting upon the last year, I am amazed at the 12 months that have past and all the things that have happened and been accomplished. I am not sure if it was caused from my cleaning up stacks of paper, that long ago should have been filed away, or my kids turning pages of their photo albums (yes, I still print photos off and place them in albums), that caused me to begin my reflection this week.

It is a little surreal to look back as it sometimes feels like a lifetime ago, or just last week. So over the last 12 months I have self-published 10 designs, bringing my own design line of Linda Dean Crochet to a total of 35. In addition I completed 16 designs for Freelance contracts, work that is in magazines or websites for yarn companies. This is slightly less than the year previous, but I have undertaken and expanded another portion of my business, teaching.

In 2016 I taught weekly at my local yarn store, with a total of 77 students taught over the year…that is 530.5 student hours. I have to admit, it is a highlight for my week. Everyone is so eager to learn and so friendly with everyone in the room. It has often been expressed to me by the store owners that my students seem to have so much fun, as the laughing and smiles spill over onto to store floor.

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My tour of Charleston, SC

In addition I taught on the national level for the first time, at the Crochet Guild of America’s (CGOA) annual conference this last year in Charleston, SC (I just learned that I will be teaching again at this conference in 2017, this time in Chicago). Here I taught an additional 63 students, with 189 student hours, in my four classes.

I served on the CGOA Board of Directors, served as a co-chairperson for the Masters Committee and Social Media Committee, as well as working as a Master Program Reviewer (the Master’s Program is a program that offers some instruction and tests your crochet knowledge and skill). I also undertook the challenge of creating a new, more educational based Master Program that I hope will be available later in 2017.

Locally I served on the Board of my Hangtown Fibers Guild, I worked at ensuring that there was a program at every monthly meeting, as well as arranging workshops from nationally recognized instructors.

I also traveled quite a bit in 2016…January found me in San Diego (the National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) Summer Show), February I was in Santa Clara, CA for Stitches West; May in Pasadena, CA for Vogue Knitting Live; June to Washington DC for the TNNA Winter Show; and July in Charleston, SC to teach at the CGOA conference. This was much quieter than the year before, but this is only the travel and commitments for my work in crochet.

My kids are always busy, and without the support of my husband I don’t think that I could have accomplished anything. The kids kept busy with TaeKwonDo, 4H, and band. I do not think that there has been a single weekend where we were able to sit back and relax at home.

Looking back really does help me keep things in a perspective. On any given day, I don’t feel like I accomplish much…maybe because in prior jobs I could see the stack of paper, emails and phone calls that I completed daily; crochet has a different flow, it is more artistic, and I do not have the same instant gratification of work completed. Taking stock of the work I have done, does help me to understand that I have been productive, I am contributing.

2017 is already shaping up on becoming a bit busier. This is an interesting journey.