Free Crochet Pattern: French Fry Purse

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McDonald’s (!!!) approached me to help promote global #McDelivery Day, which is this Thursday, July 19! Order McDonald’s via UberEats on Thursday whenever lunch starts (10:30am or 11:30am depending on where you live), and you’ll get the chance to order FREE McDonald’s swag while supplies last at participating locations! I’m particularly into the bandana, socks, and t-shirts, and I’m running an enamel pin giveaway on my Instagram! To celebrate, I decided to make myself a french fry purse, because I still believe that McDonald’s fries are THE BEST FRIES. You can either make this a handbag or a cross body. I had people vote on Instagram, and the cross body won. Basically you can make the strap what ever length you want ;). If you end up getting goodies on McDelivery Day, let me know what you picked! (P.S. This jean jacket is rad! Thank you, Ronald!)

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Windows for Harvey – my crocheted ice cream cone window installation!

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It was Harvey Milk’s birthday on May 22nd, and in celebration, the Castro neighborhood here in San Francisco hosts Windows for Harvey, a celebration in which local merchants host art installations inspired by Harvey and his legacy. This year’s theme was “equality,” and the Castro Fountain asked if I would create an installation for their window. I sketched and envisioned A LOT of different concepts before deciding on this one. A big part of me wanted to make a bunch of smaller items to fill the window, so that people might be more willing to purchase a piece of it at a lower price. But ultimately, I felt like the big triple scoop ice cream cones would make a bigger and more fun visual impact. They are over 5 feet tall! This is from my artist statement/description posted in the window: “For Harvey Milk’s birthday, I wanted to crochet a treat that was not only sweet but also highlighted Milk’s legacy and fight for equality. Both crochet and ice cream can have nostalgic qualities that take many of us back to a more innocent time, perhaps a time before we became aware of our differences, or that difference could ever be seen as a bad thing. Milk encouraged us to embrace each other, whether we are pink, yellow, or green, and to always give each other hope.” Big crochet is super floppy and a little heavy, so I backed both pieces in thick foam board. Manda helped me out a lot by cutting the board, since I was so short on time. Today is the last day you can view it. I think I’m supposed to take it down tonight! Sorry I wasn’t able to blog about it sooner! If anyone local to SF is interesting in purchasing it, you can always email me. I still haven’t quite figured out the pricing, but I’d sell them together or as individual ice cream cones. Manda wants to keep them, but our house already has a lot of crochet :).

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Free Crochet Pattern & Video Tutorial: Lemon Pillow!

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The Craft Yarn Council approached me again this year to create a new pattern for Stress Awareness Month (which was April!) after the success of our Lemon Stress Ball. This year, I decided to GO BIG with this huggable and squishable Lemon Pillow! We’re using big yarn and a big hook, so this big project should go by more quickly than you think. I have a video tutorial on YouTube for the visual learners, and the free pattern is below. A friendly, printable PDF has been available on for the past few weeks, plus they have a knitted version, too! I hope you have lots of fun adventures with your gigantic lemon!   Lemon Throw Pillow crochet pattern by Twinkie Chan

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Crocheted Carrot Class on Creativebug!

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(This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small commission on any purchases you make.) added this cute crocheted carrot to my Fruits & Veggies crochet classes! I was going to wait to post about it until I had time to whip up some more carrot samples and take cute photos, but I wanted to let you guys know sooner rather than later! I LOVELOVELOVE seeing all of your finished projects from my patterns and classes, and I know you are going to love this addition to your fruits & veggies amigurumi collections! Click to see all my classes at Creativebug. –> Crochet Time!

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Knit Crate: Monthly Yarn Subscription Box. Let’s Check It Out!

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(This post contains affiliate links, which means, if you make a purchase, I’ll get a tiny portion of the sale.) Warning: amazingly cute yarn ahead! The folks at KnitCrate asked if I might want to look at one of their yarn subscription boxes. I’m kind of out of the loop these days and hadn’t heard of them, and I was really upfront about not being a full-time crocheter anymore. I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep about posting photos or video for other companies right now. But they were super nice and said they would just send me one and see, so I said ok! Okay, so like was this perfectly orchestrated or what? Last month’s theme was SUGAR SUGAR, and they sent me this gorgeous yarn in a cotton candy pinky lavender. AND IT HAS SOME SPARKLE 😍. You know I love some yarn that just looks YUMMY. With Knit Crate, there is a monthly theme (like Sugar Sugar), and you receive 1 of 3 surprise colorways. The box also comes with a link to that month’s knit pattern and crochet pattern. March’s crochet pattern was some adorable socks. If you know me, I don’t really work with fingering weight yarn, nor do I ever make socks, but look how cute those socks are! I would totally wear those! Have you crocheted socks before? I’ve never tried. But this is the perfect opportunity to do so. For the monthly subscription cost of $24.99, you get about $63 worth of yarn and patterns (plus coupon codes from the designers), and shipping is included, worldwide. I liked that I also got cards for Destashio – an online marketplace for buying/selling yarn that I hadn’t heard of – and information about a charity partner they work with so that you can donate any of your finished hats, scarves, wash cloths, etc. to refugees in the United States. I was really pleasantly surprised by Knit Crate. They did provide me with free product, but I wasn’t paid to make a post. I’m mostly surprised by how much I loved the yarn (which was specifically hand-dyed for Knit Crate) and how cute I thought the project was. I don’t know that I honestly have enough time to try the sock pattern any time soon, but I’m jealous of any of you who are! I actually just received the April Knit Crate yesterday! The theme is Golden Hour, and I’m going to open it right now!

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Little Prawn (or Shrimp!) Amigurumi Crochet Pattern

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Hello, friends! I know it has been super quiet on my blog, but that’s life with a full-time job… and a small attempt at a social life… plus maybe some sleep. I do have some more surprises coming up, so don’t fret! For now, I have a new pattern in my Etsy shop: this cute shrimp / prawn! I guess it’s technically a prawn. Google the difference between the two. When it comes to how the different plates on the body overlap each other, this fella falls more into the prawn category. I originally created this pattern for my friend Eat Me Do. You can read about that on this post here. Since they sold out, people have been asking me for the pattern throughout the years. To be honest, I’m not 100% happy with the pattern, but I haven’t taken the time to fix it. There’s nothing WRONG with it exactly, it’s just me being super anal about certain parts of it. BUT ANYWAY. It’s still a dang cute project, and I can’t wait to see all of yours!! And yes, everyone is saying that it would make a really cute cat toy. I don’t have a cat, so that’s not really my thing, but I can see how that would make a lot of sense, and you should do it up. Each lil shimp prawn guy only takes about 10 yards of yarn, so it’s a great stash-buster and something you can finish in one sitting. Remember to tag me if you post photos so I can see!

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Twinkie Chan Guest Column in Simply Crochet Magazine Issue 67

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A reader kindly let me know that my 3rd and final guest column for Simply Crochet Magazine is out now in the UK and online! Info on how to get your copy is here. I downloaded the Zinio version for my desktop! The magazine editor usually asks me to write about what is currently inspiring me. As you may know, I’m working full-time now as the social media manager for a local company that designs women’s clothing, bags, and home accessories. I have much less time and energy to crochet than I ever could have imagined. My inspiration for the article was: LACK OF TIME. And how to fit crochet into your busy life. The article also notes that you can find bento buddy patterns in my Etsy shop. THIS IS MY PLAN. But they are not in there yet. My plan was actually to have in them in the shop before the holidays, but it just didn’t happen. My friend Candace is helping me design a booklet for the bento buddy patterns. She showed me a sample AND IT WILL BE SO CUTE. It’s gonna be worth the wait. I just have a few big projects I need to get out of the way first (something with the Craft Yarn Council, and a private commission), and then I will do my best to get back into the crochet seat for 2018. It’s been a rough transition, but I’m doing my best and also trying not to stress myself out… which is tough for a workaholic and perfectionist. Giving myself a break is not a forte of mine, but I know it’s important too, sometimes. Ok, rant over! Thanks for your patience! More crochet soon, I promise!

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Lil Holiday Shop Update

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I put a few of my holiday favorites in my Etsy shop. Just a few of each for those non-crocheters who want some Twinkie Chan cheer. Popcorn garlands, gingerbread men clips, and pickle ornaments. I’m shipping everything by Dec. 18-19, so if you’re in the U.S., you should receive your order before Christmas!

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Most adorable video, starring my sloth & abominable snowman!

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My buddies at Creativebug shot this ridiculously cute video to promote the spirit and the season of holiday gift-making! I love it so much! You might recognize these friends from my Critter-of-the-Month crochet classes. For a free first month subscription to Creativebug and also a 30% off coupon for Joann Fabrics, check out this link!

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My Peppermint Candy Party Christmas Tree!

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I know! I can’t believe I have my Christmas tree up already, either! Actually, this is the first of 3 trees. We also have a pink one and a lavender one, but this is my brand new white tree gifted by Treetopia, since they kindly invited me to be on their Design Council 2017: Christmas in Treetopia! This year, I wanted to make giant peppermint ornaments. At first I was going to crochet them, and if I have time, I might still try that and post the pattern here later, but in the interest of time and working at a desk 40 hrs a week, I decided to give myself a break and paint some styofoam disks. This tree just really represents giving myself a huge break in general. I usually try to stick with handmade and vintage ornaments, but we don’t always have time for any of that, so this tree is decorated entirely with Treetopia ornaments and stuff I bought at Michaels at 50% off, plus a really basic and easy DIY. I started with the Arctic White 6 foot tree and these Colors of Christmas Beaded Ornaments. Treetopia did provide these items to me, but my review is honest, and both the tree and the ornaments are beautiful. When it comes to fluffing an artificial tree, you need to take some time, but it’s worth it! The tree is pre-lit, and you can change from white lights to blue lights. I layered in some gingerbread ornaments (yes, you could definitely crochet those!), ceramic(?)/glass(?) garlands, and bows made with ribbon from Michaels. I really love that ribbon! It’s a minty green blue with peppermints on it, so it was 100% perfect for my tree theme. I then bought floral styrofoam in two different disk sizes, painted some small red stripes with acrylic paint, and then wrapped my big candies inside cellophane tied off with gold ribbon. This is the first time I really tried to plan my tree out as far as color scheme. My normal design personality is sort of a kitschy mish-mash of pastel randomness. It will be interesting to get all the trees up and decorated at once! I also have a garland and a wreath from Treetopia that I need to decorate, so stay tuned for that! If you want a chance to win a tree and ornament set for you and a loved one, you can enter to win Treetopia’s 6th Annual Secret Santa Sweepstakes on their Facebook page. Choose your favorite look from our 2017 Design Council and telling us why it suits your holiday style. Ready those sleigh bells and sing your way through the merriest time of the year! Duration: November 14-25, 2017 Can I end with some #HolidayCraftConfessions ? (I started using this hashtag on Twitter. Feel free to contribute!) I could NOT find my vintage tree skirt, so I just pulled the fleece cover off my chair, which I use to protect the chair from dog hair and muddy […]

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Pumpkin or Jack-o-lantern Slouchy Beret Hat – Crochet Pattern & Video!

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! You can purchase the crochet pattern for my pumpkin jack-o-lantern slouchy beret hat (obviously I can’t decide what to call it… haha) in my Etsy shop, and I also just posted my YouTube tutorial for it. I use my favorite – worsted weight yarn – and a little felt for the face. For a little extra Halloween love, here’s an easy tutorial I made for work: turning a reusable shopping bag into a fun trick-or-treat bag. Manda and I always have to make some kind of video in a pumpkin patch! Have a safe and fun day!

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My Sloth Appears in Creativebug’s October Look Book – It’s a Short Horror Movie!

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Remember my crocheted sloth from my Creativebug class? He’s part of Creativebug’s October Look Book … which is also a short horror movie! Click the image and check it out! You can also take advantage of a 1-month free trial to Creativebug + a coupon for 30% off at Joann Fabric and Craft Stores: just click my affiliate link here!  

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Less than one week until … THE KNIT SHOW with Vickie Howell

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In March, I backed Vickie Howell’s The Knit Show. In August, I was filming for it. On October 5th, Season 1 premieres on YouTube. The Knit Show will be very first studio quality, community-funded and internationally accessible, episodic how-to knitting & crochet series, from the host of the wildly popular DIY & HGTV series, “Knitty Gritty”, and PBS’ “Knitting Daily with Vickie Howell.” When I decided to back the show, I wanted to support my craft and my community and help make part of knit/crochet history. Vickie is a rock star, and if I could help in some small way to make this amazing thing happen, then I was going to! I had no idea that a few months later, I’d be flying to Austin 3 days before my birthday to film part of an episode. I met Crafty Is Cool, who kindly bought me a birthday taco the next day. I met The Crochet Dude (yeah THAT Crochet Dude). I saw Kelley Deal but I tried to be like nbd. I hung out with Vickie’s daughter Clover, and an air conditioning duct that was blasting freezing cold air at us at high velocity provided hours of entertainment, Boomerangs, and slo-mos. It is rare for me to hang out with my peeps in person, so this was a very special trip and a very special experience. I even hung out with the Hivesters (you’ll see) a little bit, and one of them brought me a giant birthday day donut the next day. Like, who is that nice? I hope you all subscribe to The Knit Show YouTube Channel and watch it all unfold on October 5th! Also please keep hounding Vickie about Knit Show t-shirts because I really want one, even though I already have the enamel pin and the tote bag…. BTW the day after filming for The Knit Show, I hosted a pop-up shop in Austin which was also super incredible. I’ll blog about that next!

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Renegade Craft Fair – Spring 2017 Re-cap!

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I know this blog entry is about 2 months late, but my new job has definitely been keeping me busy AND tired! I wanted to show you guys what my booth at Renegade Craft Fair looked like this past July, in case you don’t follow me on Instagram where I tend to post a bit more frequently. I did something really new and different and devoted my entire booth to a cactus theme! This also meant that every item I had in the booth was brand new and freshly designed. This is the booth sketch I made to help me plan everything first. I planned to re-use my sneeze guard from Renegade Spring 2016 and turn it into a little green house for baby cacti. Then, Manda helped me make cactus scarf/hat stands out of foam core. Here is the booth in real life!   It was kind of hard to get a good photo since we were backlit by windows and we didn’t have much of a visual separator between us and our neighbors, but I think you get the gist.

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Free Pattern: Crochet Flower Crown or Daisy Chain Crown

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I know it’s fall and that flower crowns are more of a spring thing… but you could play with colors and still be a fall flower princess! I originally created this pattern for A Beautiful Mess blog, and I taught this class at Craftcation, but I wanted to make sure the rest of you guys had access to this pattern, too. I’m in a bit of a rush, so I’m gonna slap this link to a PDF download for now! –> Crochet Flower Crown

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Creativebug Class: CROCHETED CORN

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I’m so excited that my Crocheted Corn class is launching TODAY on! I love corn so much! Is there anything cuter than a crocheted ear of corn? Whip up this seasonal favorite WITH ME on The nubbly texture of the corn kernels is made from a combination of single, half-double, and half-triple stitches, and when finished, the corn will be 7 inches long. If you’re hooked on making crocheted veggies, learn how to make other delicious (in)edibles in my Eat Your Fruits and Veggies Crochet-Along!  Learn how to: Work in the round with magic circle Single crochet Half-double crochet Half-triple crochet Slip stitch Let’s do it! I corn hardly wait! (I tried.) SaveSave

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Life Changes

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Hi, friends, So sorry for radio silence and lack of real updates. A lot has been changing in my life, and I’ll blog about all of it eventually. For now, I just wanted to let you know that Bibi passed away on Monday night. As you might have read before, Bibi has been battling mast cell tumors for more than a year. She has had 3 surgeries, 2 rounds of chemo, and recently, one radiation treatment. Before she had her radiation treatment, we knew we would probably never beat this cancer, but we kept trying, because she seemed to remain in good spirits. However, during her 2nd chemo round, her leg had swelled so much from groin to ankle that her oncologist told us the only way to relieve just the swelling was probably radiation, so we tried. She also started to have difficulty breathing, which was attributed to possible pneumonia. Within a week, she became extremely lethargic, so we held off on any further treatment. 2 weeks later, she was no longer wanting to eat. Her anemia got worse, and she was just so weak. One of her oncologist was trying to figure out why she was anemic and thought maybe there was a bleed somewhere in her GI tract. Bibi spent all day in bed and would only get up to drink water or go to the bathroom. We syringed water into her mouth so she wouldn’t have to get up every time. I ended up  hand-feeding her each meal and making home-cooked food and just trying everything I could to get her to eat something, but it quickly became very clear that she was telling us something, and that it was time to let her go. Manda helped me take her to get one more ultrasound, and it showed a lot of problems with different organs, including her heart. It was a really difficult decision, and you never know if you are doing the right thing. We had a home appointment, and it was very peaceful, and she passed surrounded by the people who loved her the most. As a single, childless dog-lady, losing my pup has left a huge hole in my heart. Even sadder, Bunny behaved very oddly in the first 48 hours after Bibi left. They had never behaved as if they were that bonded, but Bunny already acted weird when the vet came to to our house, and she became listless and would not eat. Luckily, she has started to eat a little already, and I’m sure she will be ok, but of course, it will not be the same for any of us. There’s other stuff going on, but for now, that’s all I have time for. I haven’t really had a full-night’s sleep for 2 months. For many weeks, Bibi was in an e-collar and on steroids, so she had to pee every 2-3 hours and couldn’t fit through the doggie door! I’m still trying to catch up, and I just […]

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Renegade Craft Fair Prep!

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Teamwork makes the dream work. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know the theme for my Renegade Craft Fair booth (p.s. come see it in person July 15-16 at Fort Mason!). I feel really lucky to have some amazing crochet helpers build my stock. There is no way I could hand-make all the pieces for a show on my own. Here’s a photo that my crochet elf sent me the other night of some almost-finished cactus scarves! I got so excited! I’m also super lucky to have a creative bff who helps me build cool displays. I think this one is going to be particularly fun! These foam board cacti are going to be hat and scarf racks! I am going to start painting them right now. I don’t want to give away all the fun stuff we’re prepping, and I can’t wait to see it all come together. I’m in the weird limbo state right now, where I have all these plans and all these pots boiling, but NOTHING is 100% finished or even in my possession right now, and we have about 2 weeks to go, and you just hope and pray that you’ve planned well enough for things to come together just perfectly. There have also been a lot of other things happening behind the scenes. I just made one of those life-changing decisions (sounds dramatic, but honestly, feels dramatic, too), and I’ll definitely blog about that in the next week or two. Stay tuned ;). SaveSave

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Creativebug offer for June!

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Have you checked out the classes on yet? If not … this is the time to do it up! For the month of June, use THIS LINK (affiliate link) to sign up for a subscription, and your first month will be just $1! Plus, you’ll be emailed a 30% off coupon for Jo-Ann Fabrics. You can load up on a lot of yarn with that! You can take my Fruits & Veggies Crochet Along classes or my Critter of the Month classes. Or if you need a break from crocheting, they have over 1000 other fun arts and crafts classes by amazing instructors. I just watched a Creativebug watercolor livestream today that was really inspiring!

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Pimp Your Brilliance Podcast, with guest: me!

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Monique from the blog Keep Chasing the Stars invited me to be a guest on her podcast Pimp Your Brilliance.  We talk about how I got started as a crocheter, why I decided to create food-themed accessories, my initial reluctance to becoming a YouTuber, and how I’ve maintained longevity in the handmade industry. Please pardon all my “uhhhhs.” Apparently I also say “you know” a lot!!! Being on people’s podcasts also helps me learn how to be a better speaker :P, so I learn from them, too! Thanks so much, Monique! It was a lot of fun chatting!

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“Supersize Crochet” Giveaway!

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I have a fun giveaway for you guys! THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Check out SUPERSIZE CROCHET by Sarah Shrimpton. I had the honor of receiving an early PDF of the book. It’s filled with 20 projects that all use super giant chunky yarn! Fun, right?! You can buy the book directly from the publisher F&W or from Amazon (affil. link). The twenty projects inside range from big, colorful rugs, to oversized cowls, to humongous blankets, and more. The bonus part is that the patterns are fairly simple, so even beginners can enjoy the max out of the book (please note that the book is in UK crochet terms rather than US, but there is a handy chart at the back for conversion). Sarah also provides a Top Tip for each project, and there is a section at the beginning of the book that focuses on general tips for working with gigantic yarn. I decided to make the Cocoon Shrug and show you guys. Disclaimer: I wanted to buy the exact yarn that Sarah used (Rico Fashion Gigantic Mohair), and I could only find it from the UK, AND THEN… I didn’t order enough balls because I spaced out, and there wasn’t enough time to ship more from the UK. So my first effort was kinda more of a bolero … which was fine, but I really wanted a full-on cocoon! Here’s my rainbow bolero. Rainbolero.

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I’ll be at TeeCon in Washington D.C. this weekend! Come say hi!

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I just packed my bags for a quick trip to Washington D.C. for Tee Con at the Washington Convention Center. At noon, I’ll be speaking about using YouTube and your blog to promote your brand. I’m also bringing a suitcase full of goodies with me to vend, so you can find me at my table from 9am until probably 11:30ish before I speak, and then maybe from 1pmish until 3pmish before I have to pack up my bags and head back home in time for Mother’s Day. Hope I see some of you there!

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My Craftcation 2017 Weekend!

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I spent this past weekend in the whirlwind known as the Craftcation Conference in Ventura, CA! It’s an annual event put on by the team at Dear Handmade Life, packed full of craft workshops and creative business classes. I sat on two panels – one about licensing and one about writing/publishing a book – and taught two crochet classes – Beginning Crochet and then a more project-based class to make flower headbands. I made a lot of new friends and also met a lot of people I’d only known on the internet, like Jenny Hart and Mei Pak. I’ll start with one of the high points of the conference for me: my flower head band class. It was the first time I’d ever taught this class, and everyone finished a head band (someone even finished TWO!) during the 90 minute time slot. This was Sunday, the last class period for the entire conference, and it was the perfect finale. We had absolute beginners who were a joy to teach, and we had some experienced crocheters who just wanted to hang out and make something fun. As a teacher, I really learned that 30 people in a class is too much for me to be able to give everyone individual attention. Our smaller class size here helped to keep everything relaxed and happy. Here are some close-ups of people working on their projects! I was so proud of everybody! I also ended up taking the train to the airport with two gals from my class, so that was extra fun, too. Okay, I have to show you the pop-up shop. It was Willy Wonka themed and stocked full of books and kits and crafty goodness! I snapped a few photos after the shop was closed. Normally it was pretty busy with a long line! So the conference started on Thursday, and I flew in on Thursday afternoon. My friend Truck from 100% Soft said he could give me an hour-long ride to Ventura, so that was super nice to chat with a buddy along the way. Plus I tried La Croix for the first time. As soon as I arrived, I checked into the hotel, brushed my teeth, and then tried to figure out the dinner situation. As it turned out, I hopped onto a school bus which was our trusty shuttle, and off we went to the dinner location. People don’t like to believe me when I say I am shy and an introvert, but those things are true, and I get nervous about not knowing anybody in a big group situation. Luckily, someone stepping onto the bus was like OH HI TWINKIE CHAN, and then Pia became my bus buddy. Dinner was outside, and I also signed books with some other crafty authors. At some point, I also got bit by a mosquito in the middle of my forehead, so if you saw me and wondered… THAT WAS A BUG BITE. NOT A ZIT. I was sharing my hotel room with […]

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Photos from my book signing & exhibition at The Knitting Tree LA

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I’m a teensy bit back-logged as far as blogging, and I wanted to take a moment to post photos from my book signing and exhibition at The Knitting Tree LA from back in October! I met Bruce and Annette at Vogue Knitting Live (which I also need to blog about!), and they invited me to celebrate the opening of their new location with them by signing books and showing some of my work. Coincidentally, my cousin in Hong Kong was passing through L.A. so this was perfect timing for family time and fun-work time! Can we talk about #relationshipgoals for a sec!? Owning a super cool yarn shop and fiber art gallery with your partner? YES PLEASE, UNIVERSE, HEAR ME. One side of their space has all the their yarn and goodies. The other side is their gallery space, which they dedicate to fiber arts. I shared the space with two other artists. Here’s a pic that Annette took of me in the exhibit. Here’s Emily whom I got to meet in person!! She crocheted a bunch of amazing plants for a production of Little Shop of Horrors which I blogged about here. I was so honored that she made the trek from Vegas to say hello! Here’s me and my friend Pat Ahern who is an amazing crochet artist and does a lot of freeform crochet portraiture. We walked outside in the burning hot heat to find a coffee shop which ended up not existing anymore, and then he was super nice and drove to Starbucks or Peet’s for frosty blended coffee drinks. A lot of people brought me presents, and everyone was super nice. Also we sold out of books! Success! It was such a great day! I love our fiber community so much. There were a ton of people sitting around a table knitting together, and The Kniting Tree hosts regular meet-ups with snacks. It’s such a magical place, and I was so delighted to be able to experience it.

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