Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tipsy Tuesday (on a Wednesday)

This year I want to focus on becoming a better blogger and I figured that the best way to do that was to read more blogs. So, since this is a crochet blog I decided to look at other crochet bloggers and how they do things. Most crochet blogs are full of free patterns and giveaways like Moogly, The Underground Crafter and Whistle and Ivy. These are great blogs and who doesn't love to get free patterns but I really wanted more insight into the lifestyle of a crochet artist.

I discovered A Creative Being too late. (Although this blog is completely worth the read.) I thought: Finally this is what I have been looking for and so I began reading, from the beginning, and I found that Wink had my same taste in blogs. Through her blog I found so many others that are so fantastic, like Maybe Matilda and Greedy for Colour

You should also check out Crochet Concupiscence for blog links and interesting crochet news. This blog is out of the ordinary. 

So here are my tips:
  • Feedly- to keep track of your blog reading
  • Read blogs that your interested in not just the ones that fit your niche. I have two color inspiration blogs from interior designers that I read.
  • Read blogs for information- I have a blog dedicated to the fiber business that I read all the time.
  • Read blogs for fun- I am still looking for a good travel blog so if you have any suggestions send them my way. 
  • If you are one of those people who likes to start at the beginning. Keep track of your place by sending yourself a blog space saving email with the links where you left off. 
Still living in a sea of Pom-Poms.

Happy Hooking Everyone

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Throw Back Thursday

Pardon the pun as I throw back to some baby "throws" that I have made in the past. I am dusting off these blankets today to inspire me to finish the baby blankets I have to make. So here are two of my favorite gifts from the past.

When I make baby blankets I try to think about the parents. What are the likes and dislikes, what do they love. Well, I usually base my first baby blanket on the mother's favorite flower. In this case Mom's favorite flower was a sunflower but the baby was going to be a boy. So this is what I made.

 The giant sunflower square and fancy window square allowed me to celebrate Mom and still make a baby boy's blanket.
I made a cute sweater with wood buttons and yellow hiking boots to complete the layette. Since this has become my business I am no longer able to make full layettes for my friends and the bubies. But maybe if I keep to the plan I will be able to be two seasons ahead and make some gifts just for fun.

(This Mom is about to have another little one. I am hoping for a girl so I can go sunflower crazy. I have these baby sandals that I have wanted to make her for years.)

This baby blanket was made for a baby that was being adopted. The adoption fell through just at the time I had finished this baby blanket. Everyone involved was devastated. 
Than......MIRACLE......Mom found out that she was going to have a baby boy. Can you believe that!?! I gave Mom the blanket that had been finished for months and quilt clips so that it could be displayed as well as used. This is one of my favorite baby blankets that I have ever made. I like it, not only for the story connected to it, but also the color choice turned out so well.

(This mom has actually received two of my favorite blankets. She is the recipient of my first patchwork stash bust too. That was gorgeous)

Thank you to Jan Eaton for your 200 Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans.

Have you made a gift that has a great story attached or turned out to be one of the best things you ever made? Share them with me.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Daily Grind

The Grind: Iced Coffee at Kawa Cafe.

Kawa is this fantastic little hole in the wall that I found when I was getting my tax licence for my craft fairs two years ago. They have amazing bagel sandwiches and I love a good Ruben. 

Why the Daily Grind? I love local coffee shops. Even though Knitwits and Hookers (my local knit and crochet club) meets at Starbucks my general feeling about Starbucks is that it is for travel and when you are home you should visit your local coffee shops, buy from local roasters and sustainable free trade coffee merchants, and always, ALWAYS buy whole bean and grind it at home. So I collect local coffee shops. I am trying to visit all of my local haunts so you can see them. I am always on the lookout for others. What is your favorite local coffee haunt or do you, like me, have several? Do you like a good latte,do you prefer pour over black, or is tea more your style?

Maybe I should figure out how to add the map rich pins onto Pinterest so that as I post my coffee shops readers can see where in my city they are? 

This is what I've been working on my peeps. POM-POMS!!!!!!!! almost done then on to the next collection. 

I created a Pinterest board so that you can see my color inspiration, the yarn I'm working with, techniques I am using and pom-pom how-to's. 
Pastel shades for my 2015/2016 fall and winter collection for kids. I am using Caron Simply Soft yarn.
This is my first of many. I will make a new one for every collection so you see my creative process. I would love to see your work and creative process as well? Post your pictures in the comments, give me a link to your own Pinterest board or send me a link to your Instagram feed so I can see what your up to. 

P.S. my Instagram is.........sorry got distracted by my feed. You can find me on Instagram @joiaurouge

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wanderin On Wednesday

I live in Gorgeous Colorado in a city right at the foot of Pikes Peak so an hour long hike through a city park can look and sound like this:

We have had an unusual, and when I say unusual I mean record breaking, never before seen, amount of rain. This amount of water prompted me to spend a Saturday morning walking up Helen Hunt Falls. 


Take a walk with me.....

Its been a hot day so maybe we should dip our feet.


Thanks for the walk. Next time we might find the road less traveled.

Happy Hooking!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Treasury Tuesday

I am highlighting a newer member of my Etsy team in today's treasury.

Today's anchor item is a travel photograph from Ashley Tiedgen Photography. This is my favorite photo of Ashley's but when visiting her shop its very difficult to choose just one favorite. She has a great eye and her abandoned studies are sublime.  

Here is what Ashley say's about herself and her photography: 

Corky Urban Exploration Photographer

I am an on-location photographer, which means the lovely land we live on is my studio. My photos capture the details of the forgotten memories left to rot with time. My clients include abandoned cities, forgotten buildings and desolate landscapes therefore I abide by the commonly known phrase "take only photos, leave only footsteps." 

I shoot mostly digital, but lately, I've been hanging out with a Canon AE-1 Program and a Vintage Yashica Twin Lens Reflex Camera. They are my new loves and you'll start to see more film photography in my shop! yay!

I love music, postcards and shoes. I fully embrace my inner dork and dance parties are a must. When I'm not writing about myself in the third person, I like to go hiking, running, draw, and dream about the day that I can buy a house with a studio and a garden. I live in Denver, CO with my cat Elton, but love to travel around the country and explore new spaces and environments. Usually and frequently ones not marked on a tourist map. Urban Exploration at its finest.

Here is what other's are saying about Ashley:

  • this is beautiful! you are so talented!
  • Fast shipping, great customer service, and beautiful prints! Definitely an A+ ! Can't wait to be a repeat customer; highly recommend this seller and shop!

You can find Ashley at her Etsy shop and Facebook

Until next time happy hooking everyone!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Daily Grind

The Grind: Fresh Ground Sumatra as I sit at my dining room table.

Half a year has gone by and we are all looking back on our new years resolutions that have been abandoned. If you recall I posted a few of them right here on this blog. Just a refresher.

  1. Introduce you to a new favorite coffee haunt each week as well as a new pattern I am working on.
  2. Bring back Treasury Tuesday
  3. Post once more during the week. 
As you can see I have not kept to these resolutions. But instead of leaving my resolutions in the dust this year I have decided to take a closer look at them.

Number 1:
Why haven't I introduced you to a new favorite haunt and new pattern each week. Well, I don't know why I haven't been visiting my favorite coffee houses and finding new ones. That is an egregious over site that is going to take more effort on my part. As far as new patterns are concerned. I don't write a new pattern every week. As a matter of fact I am trying to make an effort to crochet everyday. Its this weird mind block that I have. When I know that its my business I let myself get distracted. So I have changed my crochet perspective in the last 6 months. Instead of working on a pattern a week I have chosen to work on collections. Right now I am working on my Pom-Pom Parade collection for kids. It is a fall and winter collection that will come out in September and it features.....wait for it..... POM-POMS. It will consist of three hat and scarf sets, a pair of boot cuffs and mittens. YAY!!!! Here are a few photos so far of the finished projects

.Number 2:
Treasury Tuesday. I have wanted to revamp this as well. I am working on bringing Tipsy Tuesday as a regular blog post every other Tuesday to post along with Treasury Tuesday. Tipsy Tuesday will include tips that will enhance your crochet creating or your crochet business. Diligence will be key here.

Number 3:
Posting blog posts is a difficult thing for me to do in the first place. I am not a blogger. I am much more of a conversationalist then a writer and I have a very rocky relationship with the comma. So, I have been listening to a the podcast How They Blog and it has given me some great motivation and insight.
How To Blog Like An Olympian I just have to sit down every day and write. Write about anything for half an hour a day. Maybe those thoughts will become blog posts, maybe they will be on a random piece of paper that eventually gets tossed in the craft room trash bin but at least I will have written something. (Do you think pattern writing counts?) Discipline must be my watch word.

So here are my new resolutions based on my old ones:

  1. Drink more coffee and tell you about it (so difficult...hee hee).
  2. Crochet for at least an hour each day and have a camera ready while I do it. (That means I must get a new phone.)
  3. Put my teaching and marketing experience to use in this blog.
  4. Write for 30 minutes each day. (Not just a to-do list) 

Maybe you should not think about your resolutions as failures, instead pick them up, brush them off and examine them for the lessons learned and re-apply. So what are your new goals?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tipsy Tuesday

I usually do Treasury Tuesday but I decided to switch it up with Tipsy Tuesday which will focus on giving you tips to use in your crochet projects. 

I promised you last Wednesday that I would have color theory tips for you today. So I am going to talk about some simple color theory. 

My father is an artist so my younger years had palettes of colorful paint near an easel with a painting in progress. My dad really liked to do color studies of nature photography. He would take a picture of a waterfall, or a mountain landscape and manipulate a color family to mirror the photo he was working with. He would sometimes let me color with the chalk and oil pastels while he worked and I learned to LOVE color. 

I generally work in color. When I design a crochet collection I base it on colors. I tend toward bold color combinations but I will work with insane brights, pastels, primary or muted tones. I then find yarn to match my vision. So I am going to give you a few tricks that I use when working with color. 

First here is the color wheel. 

I use color wheels all the time. They are an extremely helpful tools even if you are not a designer.

TIP 1: When stash busting go "Around the World" working around the color wheel in a circle. Start at a dark shade of one color and move into lighter and/or brighter shades and then back into darker. So you end up moving from the middle of the color wheel to the edge and back down again.
I used this technique for the stash busting walk through last week. 

You can also use this technique when choosing colors for your next project whether it is your own design or you would like to use colors not indicated in a pattern you admire. 

This is an example of Around the World I am currently using in a project.

Tip 2: I call it Opposites Attract. Use opposite colors on the color wheel. I use this technique most of all and I find it suits me best. 

I used it when I created my Medallion Art Scarf and it sold the same day I listed it on Etsy. 

Here are the medallions close up

Maybe you're not one of those crazy people who can just put yellow and purple next to each other and think "Perfect!" That's okay, there are ways to navigate color wheel opposites without too much insanity. 

If you are using bolder colors you can use in between color shades, like blue-green or red-orange. For instance, if you want to use green but you don't want to be Christmas, use a pink. This is an example of Opposites Attract from one of my own designs I am working on now. Coral (which is a mix of orange and pink), Strawberry Pink (which is a richer pink tone), and Pistachio Green ( a green with a little bit of yellow to share with coral). Delicious!

You can also use neutrals, like creams or browns, or the grey scale as an accent color to break up two opposites. Just be careful when using black and white because they give you a bolder pattern and if you wanted a muted feel to your project they are not good choices. 

Butter Yellow                      Lilac                     Royal Purple
Lastly, you can use two tones of the same color with a direct opposite. I love working this technique with floral patterns. It turns out incredible.

Okay there are my two color theory tips for our Tipsy Tuesday. More tips are on the way. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Walk On Wednesday through Stash Busting

My yarn drawer was getting out of control, as they do, and I had been urged to stash bust by the members of Knitwits and Hookers, my local knit and crochet club, so I decided that it was time. I am going to walk you through my stash busting process and hope that you will find some fun, some inspiration and some useful information in your own stash busting quest. 

I realize that I said yarn drawer and most of you are thinking "Yarn drawer, how is that possible? I have a yarn room." I have one yarn drawer full of yarn that is not earmarked for a specific project or part of a product I make. It's mostly full of yarn I have used in gifts, products that are no longer in production or yarn that someone has given me that I had no specific project for. So yes, one yarn drawer, but by no means the amount of yarn I have in storage. 

Now on to our walk. When I first decided to tackle my yarn drawer I walked into the craft room and found this....

I had to come back when the princess had left the yarn drawer. (Which is why the lighting in the next few pictures is not ideal) I sat with my  yarn drawer next to my feet and, needless to say, it was definitely more knots than balls. 

 I sorted through the mass tangle, untangling and untying as I went. 

Tip: While you sort and untangle, pile yarn in color groups. If multi-color or variegated, make those their own stack. 

I then create a color wheel with my yarn. 

You do not have to know a lot about color theory to deal with a color wheel. There are a lot of resources online. You do have to have a general idea of where things go, so here is a color wheel that you can work from.
Color Wheel
Colors flow naturally from one to the other in a large circle. Grey scale is outside of the color wheel. 

Grey Scale

Now you might not have enough room or too much yarn to actually lay your yarn out in a color wheel, so here is a printable color wheel that you can use to kind of fill in the blank. Just make sure that you know which ball of yarn fits into which blank. 

Thank you clicky nicky.  
Tip: If you have a ball that no longer has a label, label it yourself and stick your new label into the ball with a T-pin. 

(Completely off topic note: if you ever have a few hours to wander around Deviant Art it is definitely worth the time.) 

So now I have my color wheel. I generally work two ways around the color wheel, Around the World or Opposites Attract. (For more explanation on those terms see next Tuesday's blog.) This time I chose to go Around the World. I chose a square I fell in love with on Pinterest. I used two coordinating or matching colors for the flower and bright white for my edging. Then I worked 
Thank you My Rose Valley 
around my color wheel starting with green to yellow, yellow to orange, orange to pink, etc. 

It turned out gorgeous, as de-stash projects always do. 

Please share your de-stash projects with me. Love to see them in progress or complete. 

Back next Monday for more coffee and crochet. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Treasury Trove Tuesday

Good afternoon, it is a gorgeous sunny day here in Colorado and so I decided to celebrate our Colorado Etsy Sellers with a sunny treasury. 

Today's anchor item is a sweet wire wrapped pair of earrings from Whitty Wire Jewelry

Whitty Wire Jewelry is designed and created by Pamela Whitlow. What she has to say about her art and Etsy shop....

Handcrafts have always been a passion for me when at an early age I learned the value of creating handmade items for the home. What my mother taught me has now evolved into a creative outlet that I enjoy sharing with others. 

Whitty Wire Jewelry first began as a hobby when I began creating jewelry for myself, family and friends. Soon I was being asked about the jewelry I was wearing and where it could be purchased and thus Whitty Wire Jewelry was created in 2010. After 2 years, I decided to venture into online sales through Etsy. 

The initial medium I worked with was craft wire and then expanded into the use of the precious metals such as silver and gold filled wires. Soon I was experimenting with fusing fine silver wire and then took some courses in metal smithing. Several years ago, I also learned how to fuse glass and have since learned some more advanced techniques that I now love to experiment with and thus make my own designs in glass as well as metal clays. I am beginning to incorporate the different techniques in each piece of jewelry. With the inspiration of nature and music, I strive to create jewelry for those from all walks of life.

My art is continually evolving and you will notice that new styles and one of a kind items will be appearing in my shop. 

What others are saying about Whitty Wire Jewelry....

  • Beautiful design, exceptional quality, and very reasonably priced (even with international postage). Would certainly come back again.
  • very beautiful! Love it!

Stop by Whitty Wire for a visit.

See you tomorrow where we will be taking a walk through stash busting. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Daily Grind

The Grind: Iced Coffee on our first truly sunny day here in Colorado

The coffee shop is Jives which is my very favorite coffee shop in town. Mostly because of a print of my second favorite Van Gogh.
Something about Van Gogh's work just captures my imagination. 

Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh

And if that wasn't enough there is a stage with some acoustic guitars set up that any patron can just play.    

Right across from the park in Old Colorado City 

I was joined today by Deb Buckingham of Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She is an amazing woman, wonderful friend, published knitting designer and perfect kick in the pants when I need it. Sharing my passion for coffee and love of the fiber arts she can usually be counted upon to while away some coffee shop hours. 

Today I was perfecting the pom-pom pattern I gave you a glimpse of last week. I have just finished submitting it to a magazine so wish me luck. This will be my first pattern I did not publish myself. But don't worry. I will soon be showing off more patterns that you will be able to download for immediate gratification. Until tomorrow......