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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!

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