Archive for the ‘Book Writing Process’ Category

A Good Day for Mail

Monday, July 27th, 2015

The box on the front porch was from Sterling Publishing. Probably copies of Cute Crochet World in German. I was expecting them at some point. But there was more!

Crochet books in Russian and German

The Russian Crochet Bouquet was a total and happy surprise! Long ago, I took a semester of Russian, but the only thing I remember is pronounced “lyoo-blyoo”–“I love you.” I certainly love crocheters, whatever language they speak!

The Adventure Continues in New York City

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

The alarm went off at 3:26 a.m. on Monday the 5th. I was on my way to New York City.

First stop was Lion Brand Yarn Studio, to drop off one of my wall hangings called Passionate Heart. The Yarn Studio will be its home through July 2014. Now I can say that my artwork has been exhibited in New York. Yippeeeeee!

New York is a town for walking, and I did. The Martians of Cute Crochet World hung around with the southernmost lion at the New York Public Library. He was a little stony faced, but otherwise imposing and friendly toward little crocheted persons.

Another day brought me to Sterling Publishing, new home to Lark Books and their authors. I met with Josh, the publicist for Cute Crochet World, and dropped off three new book proposals. Fingers crossed.

I found a Barnes & Noble Bookseller on East 17th Street. Crochet Garden was among the crochet books on the fourth floor. I turned both copies face-forward on the shelf. It’s what authors do.

Inspiration from Highlights

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Highlights for Children is such a fun publication. My daughters reread their past issues, so you’ll find copies of the magazine sprinkled around the house. I reread them, too—and I enjoy looking for the hidden pictures. But you probably didn’t know that Highlights can also be used to determine the future…

In the spring of 2011, I was working hard to finish the last few designs for Crochet Garden. The deadline loomed. The large and unusual flower called Rafflesia was on my list as a possibility for the book. “Should I make a Rafflesia?” I asked myself again and again. “Yes? No? Help!”

To delay having to answer my own question, I opened the nearest copy of Highlights for a little procrastinatory reading. (Is ‘procrastinatory’ a word? The spell-checker doesn’t think so, but it’s very descriptive.) Of all the copies of Highlights I might have chosen, this particular one had an article called “This Flower Stinks!” It was about the Rafflesia.

A sign! An omen! I knew then that Crochet Garden was destined to include a pattern for the Rafflesia–non-stinky, of course. The one in Crochet Garden is called “Rafflesita,” because it is much smaller than the real flower.

Thank you, Highlights!

Cover for New Book!

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Cover for Cute Crochet World, by Suzann

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Most people ignore this advice. A book’s cover is extremely important. Publishers analyze, fret over, and redesign book covers for maximum selling impact.

I love the covers that Lark Crafts designed for Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden, so I was eager to see what they came up with for Cute Crochet World.

The first glimpse I had of any of my book covers was on Amazon.com. And today was the day for Cute Crochet World! I saw it on the Amazon link here at the blog. Right away I clicked the link to see a larger view.

The cover is posted here for your convenience, though I wouldn’t mind if you clicked on the Amazon.com link!

Let’s say this is the cover for now. Sometimes they change. Fun!

Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Quirky, eclectic, and just plain fun: with this adorable collection, crocheters can embellish clothing, décor, gifts, and more! Suzann Thompson, author of the popular Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden, has fashioned more than 60 irresistible motifs that fall into six categories: Critters, Food, Seasons, Growing Things, Home, and Toys, Tools, & Transportation—plus a few Martians thrown in!

This is the blurb for my newest crochet book, Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More, which will be published in May 2014. It’s finally listed on Amazon, which means I can write about it!

Like the title says, it is cute as can be. I wish we could have a look at the cover—but for now we have to settle for “no image available.” I guess seeing the cover will be the next big thing to look forward to.

You can pre-order at Amazon.com directly, or by clicking on the link below–exciting times!


Book Signing at Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York!

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Crochet Garden by Suzann Thompson

I can hardly wait to go to New York to visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, talk with fellow crocheters, and sign copies of Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden!

I craft with Lion Brand

The booksigning is at 6:00 p.m., August 6th, with seating starting at 5:30 p.m. If you would like to attend, please go to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio website to RSVP and for more information.

It will be a kind of homecoming for me. In the early 1990s I designed some afghans and sweaters for Lion Brand. I visited Lion Brand headquarters in New York and showed the Blumethals some design swatches. They commissioned a couple of designs–I was so excited!

Kitty Dreams blanket by Suzann

Aside from the lovely crocheted flowers in Crochet Garden, these are my favorite Lion Brand yarn designs. I designed the Kitty Dreams Blanket, made with Lion Brand Jiffy, for the Monsanto Designs for America program in the mid-1990s. The pattern is in a book called Cat Crafts: More than 50 Purrfect Projects, by Dawn Cusick. The book is available from used booksellers online, starting at around $1.00 plus shipping.

Mosaic Fish Rug by Suzann

My daughter Eva (then about 7 years old) drew a beautiful blue fish. I just had to see if I could interpret it in knitting. Mosaic knitting seemed the best way to capture the detail in her drawing. The result: this Fish Rug made from a double strand of Lion Cotton. What is it with all these fish, anyway?

That reminds me—I’m teaching how to Knit Mosaic Designs and Chart Your Own at Interweave Knitting Lab New England in October. See sidebar for link.

Very First Video!

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

from Suzann's first YouTube video

Wow! Who would have guessed that posting a video on YouTube could be so exciting? Well, it is! And I hope this will be the first of many.

“Suzann Thompson, Crochet Author” tells the story of how a regular kid grows up to be a crafty author. It’s really a movie-ized audio slide show, but it’s a start! I hope you’ll watch.

Here’s a slide from the show. Can you read it? It says “Thank You, Readers.” This means you.

Russian Spoke Stitch Resurrected

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Russian darning on net

The Russian Spoke Stitch and the Russian Spoke Picot were invented by a lady named Olivia Longacre Wertman to mimic the look of Russian darning. Here’s an example of Russian darning on a net tablecloth that my grandmother, Gertrud Wirth, embroidered a long time ago.

Mrs. Wertman’s instructions (with very good step-by-step photos, by the way) were published in 1900. You can read them free of charge on Google books—just search her name. Look under the title “Relief Crochet.”

Russian Spoke Flower from Crochet Garden

When I first read about the Russian Spoke Stitch and the Picot, I thought, “This is so clever! Why haven’t I seen this before? Why hasn’t someone resurrected this stitch? Why isn’t anyone teaching about it? Why aren’t they publishing cool patterns with it?”

As these questions hung in the air, a revelation arrived, and stood there tapping its foot. “Hello-o-o-o-o,” it called. “Anybody home? Coo-ee! Suza-a-a-a-annnnnn, are you there?”

Russian Picot Daisy from Crochet Garden

Oh! Wait a minute! I get it! Could the person who resurrects this stitch be…me? How about if I teach about it? Could the person who publishes cool patterns with this stitch be me as well?

“Um, yeah. Okay. Sure,” said the revelation, rolling its eyes. “About time.”

So, this is what we have so far:

  • The Russian Spoke Flower in Crochet Garden: pages 100-101. It’s the pink flower above.
  • The Russian Picot Daisy in Crochet Garden: pages 76-77 (the lavender and purple flower above). Both flower samples are crocheted with Cascade Yarns Cascade 220.
  • An opportunity to learn how to do these stitches in my class “Full of Bullion (Stitch, That Is)” at the Knit & Crochet Show (Instructions for the crocheted insertion below are in the class hand-out.)
  • A how-to article and gorgeous capelet pattern in an upcoming issue of Crochet! magazine.
  • And a Russian Picot Daisy Tutorial, next on “Curious and Crafty Readers” (this blog).

Now I look forward to seeing what you do with these new/old stitches!

a pattern from my Full of Bullion class hand-out

Free Crochet Pasque Flower Pattern

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Pasque Flower from the cover of Crochet Garden

Many pairs of eyeballs looked at Crochet Garden before it went to press. All off them missed the fact that the lovely Pasque Flower was on the cover (the yellow flower, second from right), and on the copyright page (purple and yellow) but not in the book!

It’s embarrassing, but what can we do?

We can give you the pattern free!

Pasque flowers look delicate with their pretty petals and oversized centers, but they are hardy enough to grow in mountainous places.

Skill Level: Easy

Materials and Tools

  • 2 or 3 colors of yarn of similar weight: yellow for center (A), one or two shades of purple or yellow (B and C); eyelash yarn is a good alternative for the flower center
  • Hook: Appropriate size hook to achieve a firm gauge with selected yarn
  • Tapestry needle

For this flower we used
Cascade 220 Wool (100% Peruvian Highland wool; 3.5oz/100g = 220yd/200m): (A) color Yellow #2439, (B) and (C) color violet #8888—medium weight yarn; <4>

Gauge Circle for Cascade 220 (see page 11 of Crochet Garden) = 1 1/8″/2.9cm worked on 4.00mm (size G-6 U.S.) hook

Finished Measurements using Cascade 220: 4 7/8″/12cm

Special Abbreviations

  • Htr (half treble crochet): Yo 2 times, insert hook in stitch and draw up a loop (4 loops on hook), yo and draw through 2 loops (3 loops on hook), yo and draw through 3 loops (1 loop left on hook).
  • Long Picot: Ch 3, hdc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st in remaining ch.

Instructions

Flower Center:
With A, ch 4, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

  • Rnd 1: Ch 1, 6 sc in ring, join with sl st to first sc of rnd.
  • Rnd 2: Working in FL only , (sl st in next st, Long Picot) 6 times.
  • Rnd 3: Working in BL of rnd 1 only, sl st in next st, *Long Picot, sl st in same st of Rnd 1; (Long Picot, sl st in next st of Rnd 1) twice; rep from * once, Long Picot, sl st in same st of Rnd 1, Long Picot, sl st in next st of Rnd 1, Long Picot, join with sl st in base of st at beg of rnd–9 picots. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Alternative Flower Center:
With eyelash yarn, ch 4 and join with sl st in first ch to form a ring. Ch 1 and fill the ring with sc OR ch 2 and fill the ring with hdc, whichever works best with your flower. Join to beg of rnd with sl st. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Flower:
With B, ch 4, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

  • Rnd 1: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch-2 sp), working in ring (dc, ch 2) 5 times, join with sl st to 3rd ch of ch-5 at beg of rnd.
  • Rnd 2: *Sl st in next ch-2 sp, ch 3, (3 dc, ch 3, sl st) in same ch-2 sp; rep from * 5 times—6 petals.
  • Rnd 3: Sl st in each st of ch-3 at beg of rnd 2; *ch 3, dc in first dc, (2 htr) in next dc, dc in next dc, ch 3, sl st in top st of ch-3 of row below, ch 1, sl st in top st of the ch-3 at beg of the next petal; rep from * 5 times. Fasten off and weave in ends before continuing to rnd 4.
  • Rnd 4: Join with B or C as desired. Hold yarn at WS of flower (underneath it), insert hook in first ch at the base of any petal, yo and pull a loop through to the RS of work (first sl st complete). *Sl st in each of the rem 5 ch up the side of the petal (1 ch will have a st in it already, so do your best). Across the top of the petal, (sc, hdc) in first st, (dc, htr) in 2nd st, ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, (htr, dc) in next st, (hdc, sc) in next st, sl st in each of the 6 ch down the side of the petal (1 ch will already have a st in it), sl st in ch-2 sp of rnd 1, sl st around the next dc of rnd 1, sl st in first ch at base of the next petal; rep from * 4 times. Rep from * once more, except end with the sl st around the next dc of rnd 1. Fasten off and needle-join to first sl st of rnd.

Finishing:

Weave in ends (except end for sewing) and block the flower gently. Sew flower center to the middle of the flower on the RS.

To Button or Not To Button?

Friday, April 13th, 2012

I had to smile when I read this comment from an Amazon.com reviewer, about Crochet Bouquet.

And why are so many decorated with buttons? No, no, no, no, no.

Truth be told, we are fortunate that there were so relatively few buttons in Crochet Bouquet. I held back on the buttons. I restrained myself. It wasn’t easy. Like I said, we’re lucky there weren’t more.

Why?

Because I love, love, love, love, LOVE buttons! They make me feel rich! They add interest and weight to my designs! They are cool to the touch when you run your fingers through them, and they make a nice, soft, clicking-clattering noise when you pour them out of the button jar. They come in so many varieties, it seems one will never run out of buttony options.

Newspaper Valentine by Suzann Thompson

You can see for yourself the buttons that embellish some of the flowers in Crochet Bouquet. (There will be a few button embellishments in my new book, Crochet Garden, too.) Let me show you some of my other buttony creations.

The heart wall hanging above is my “Newspaper Valentine.” (Three guesses as to why it’s called that!—think back to your childhood.) In addition to the many buttons used as trim and hidden in the background, I created stylized flowers on the heart using black and white buttons. (Thank you Sharon, for the buttons!) Bandanna designs inspired these button flowers. If I remember correctly, “Newspaper Valentine” has over 200 buttons on it.

Money Tree, by Suzann Thompson

My friend Kipling McFarland and I are working on a project together, and this is one of the designs I made for it. It’s called “Money Tree.” Remember how I said that buttons make me feel rich?

The black buttons on the ladybug wall hanging were meant to echo the spots on a ladybug’s carapace. I think there are nearly 90 buttons on this wall hanging, and I was very disappointed at the time that the level of buttons in our button jar didn’t seem to be affected by the loss.

Polymer clay buttoncloth, by Suzann

I make buttons, too. This is the button cloth I created to take to my button workshops. It is knitted on my trusty Ultimate Sweater Machine, added to batting and a fabric backing, and machine-quilted. I sewed a sample of each different kind of polymer clay button I have made onto the button cloth.

There’s oh, so much more. If you are interested, you can find more buttony projects on my blogs and website.

I’ll close with this happy thought: I can love buttons and use them on everything, and you can choose

  1. to cover everything with buttons, like me (yes, yes, yes, yes, yes),
  2. to use a moderate number of buttons (yes, yes, maybe, no, no),
  3. to use buttons sparingly (yes, maybe, no, no, no),
  4. or never to use buttons at all (no, no, no, no, no).

It’s a win-win situation!

Crazy Polymer Clay Patchwork Buttons, by Suzann