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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Working Hard At The Crochet Book!

For years there has been an ever-growing stack of handwritten patterns sitting on the shelf in my desk! Pattern books have always been a great source of enjoyment to me. The idea of books full of patterns gathering dust forever just seems wrong. They should be out there for the world to see and make.

"So what's the holdup?" you may ask. Well, I've had problems with my eyesight due to having Myasthenia Gravis for over 20 years, and they in fact cost me the ability to crochet from patterns! "MG" also gave me permanent double vision at certain distances. While I do receive treatment for MG to help symptoms, the condition itself is incurable. (To learn more about Myasthenia, visit the National MG Foundation's website). Myasthenia is also one of the many diseases supported by the Muscular Dystrophy Association!

But rather than quit crocheting, I decided to "do my own thing" and design my own patterns as I went.  That wasn't something that happened overnight; it was more of a gradual progress as I experimented with things and as my eyes became retrained to work in a different way. The picture below shows how I've always designed in the past.

Here's how I always worked before –
writing a pattern in a notebook as I went. This
project was my Easter Bunny Egg, free pattern available here.
That same eye problem I mentioned earlier makes it difficult for me to transcribe my notes to the computer. I have problems with focusing quickly back and forth.My very good friend Heidi came to the rescue this year when she offered to transcribe all my handwritten patterns into text files for me! Now I can manipulate the text to my heart's content... and achieve my dream of the crochet book!

I just wrote an article about my "Big Dream" at – that big dream is publishing a book of all my crochet designs together! (You can read that article here). It will be called Crochet With Sheila – A Lifetime Of Crochet.  I'm almost unbearably excited over it!

Here is just one of the patterns that has never been published before – and
will be included in the new book –
my Stained Glass Afghan, made with every color of DMC's Senso size 3 thread. 
So we're working furiously at it now! We had a major setback when Heidi's computer was stolen before we had transferred the files over. (And we're now doing backups as we go - lesson learned!)

Rather than be discouraged, she jumped right back in and started back at point zero, bless her heart! We've almost replaced all the lost files.

Fortunately, I've discovered a better method of working when I'm designing - I pattern directly onto the computer as I crochet sitting in front of the computer! Weird, yes... but it seems to work! So future patterns will be far easier to compile into collections.

I hope to be making the big announcement that the book is ready in the next couple of months! It will include all of my previously-unpublished patterns. It will not include the crochet patterns I've made available free in my articles at I'll probably come up with a compilation of those someday, but my priority right now is the patterns that have not been shared before.

Many thanks to those of you who have supported my work, sent notes of encouragement, and provided feedback on designs you'd like to see!  Keep talking – I'm listening!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wrapping Up The Backward Roses...

... At least for the moment! Today I'm working on the next-to-last design, a crocheted necklace, for  Series 1 of the Backward Rose... I am already planning Series 2! I have to tell you, this Backward Rose is the design of which I am the very most proud out of everything I've ever done. Why? Because I achieved my goal, to create something completely different in crocheting roses.

What I really love about designing these roses is that the petals/leaves on each pattern are just a tiny bit different. I'm eventually planning to come out with a pattern with a variety of petal designs for the Backward Rose, like modular "plug-ins" to the pattern. I think that'd be fun for everyone to be able to complete roses with their choice of petal design.

When I started this project, I thought about roses a lot, and how we have traditionally crocheted them. Here is a picture of a rose I grew years ago that finally "turned on the light bulb" for me, becoming my inspiration. Next to it is my first Backward Rose prototype. I was really pleased with the result.

On the home front, we're in our sixth week here with almost no measurable rain. A lot of my would-be crocheting time is being spent keeping my precious gardens alive! Every day it's just me and the garden hose or sprinkler, fighting an almost-losing battle to keep everything looking pretty... or at least alive! On top of that, dear husband wanted the grass to be green so I've been watering that too. The constant temps of 95º - 100+ have only made matters worse. Since we have an acre-sized yard, that's a big project! I can only cover half the yard each day.

I've just finished giving all the Miniature Schnauzer furkids their summer haircuts, and I'm sure they all feel a lot better! I'll have to get them together for a group shot.

The other day I had so much fun with my grand-dog Macie, the 7 month old German Shepherd Dog puppy! I was watering with the hand sprayer, and she decided it was fun to play in the water! Well of course I was going to encourage that! But unfortunately I came back awhile later and saw that Macie had decided to roll in the dirt afterward! She was now... "Oreo Puppy!" I snapped this picture, sent it to her Mommy at work, with the note, "You might want to pencil in some bathie time today!" She was mortified... but what happens at Gramma's stays at Gramma's, right?

Well, I need to run and get some errand-y type things done. Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!


Below are pictures of each different Backward Rose I've made so far... 

Backward Rose in Pink

Backward Rose Mini Corsage With Crystal

Backward Rose Mini Doily

Backward Rose Doily

Several Backward Roses

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