Have You Ever Done a Make-Along?


Depending on what you choose to do as your creative outlet, a make-along could be a crochet-along (CAL), knit-along (KAL) or something else.
This year, I participated in my first ever crochet-alongs. One was in March for the Crochet Guild of American (CGOA) in honor of March being National Crochet Month. The second was with Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts and Furls Crochet on her desig, the Bronwyn Shawl.

I made a cowl and a short scarf for the CGOA CAL. I’m almost finished with the Bronwyn shawl. Both designs turned out absolutely beautiful. I have to admit, though, the Bronwyn shawl kind of tested my patience, especially at the beginning when I kept getting a trapezoidal shape to what is supposed to be a triangular shawl. But after starting over five or six times, I LOVE it!

The question that serves as the title for the post is a real one. Have you ever participated in any kind of make-along? What was your experience like? Tell us in the comments.

Here’s Your Permission Slip

On Monday, at the end of story time, I said you need to give yourself permission to be creative/call yourself a writer.

Well…

I decided some of you might want or need a permission slip. So here you go.

Save it to your computer and print it out. Sign it and date it. Tape it to your monitor or a mirror where you see it frequently.

Give yourself permission.

Let Me Tell You a Story

Have I ever told you how I started writing? Or anything about my creative journey?

No?

I want to do that now, then.From the time I was about 7 to 16 (I’m guesstimating), my mom was a babysitter. My job, if you can really call it that, was helping to entertain the kids.

That included telling stories.

Even my brother loved my stories and frequently wanted me to tell him a bedtime story.

Eventually, I started writing them down I would also write poems. I was on the school paper and yearbook. But even though I wrote, I didn’t call myself a writer. My writing was mostly just for me at that point.

Don’t get me wrong. I had teachers who encouraged my writing, but those were mostly on school assignments. I didn’t think it was really that big a deal.

Fast-forward to college.

I was waiting for one class to let out so my class could start. I think it was Introduction to Sociology, if I remember correctly. A classmate came and sat by me (on the floor in the hall) to wait, too.

I was reading Writer’s Digest.

Her: “Oh. Are you a writer?”
Me (hesitating): “Yes.”
Her: “What do you write?”

To be totally honest, I don’t remember the rest of our conversation. It was *cough*  years ago.

Why do I remember this much of it?

It was the first time I gave myself permiossion to say I was/am a writer.

This is why I say that you are the only person who says you can or can’t be creative. It’s why I say you have to give ourself permisssion.

No one else can do that.

If you hven’t yet given yerself permission to be creative, to be a writer, to be whatever, do that now.

You might have to do it more than once. That’s OK. Just keep doing it until it sticks.

My Favorite Crochet Hooks

It’s no secret I crochet. A lot. This summer, I actually crocheted myself into tendonitis, but that’s not the point of this post.

I want to talk a little bit about my favorite crochet hooks.

My go-to hook is a size J/10 6.0 mm hook. In the picture here, you can see the wear on my absolute favorite hook in the middle. It’s a blue-green with the underlying silver showing through.

Who thought you could wear the color off of a metal crochet hook? I didn’t. Now I know.

My second favorite hook is not pictured. It’s also a size J. The handle is gray with purple flowers and the hook itself is purple.

I have a third favorite hook. It’s also not picture because there’s a project on it. It’s a size L/11 8.0 mm Tunisian crochet hook. I’m making a shawl designed by Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts. I love the pattern. I love the hook. I’ll share pictures of the finished project if you’re interested.

There you have it. A few if my favorite crochet hooks and why.

What is your favorite tool you use in your creating/making?

To Pin or Not to Pin

This is something I struggle with. I often forget to pin things to Pinterest, even when it’s in my interests to do so.

It’s often said that pinning items on Pinterest attracts more viewers, readers, or customers. It’s also said that pinned articles have a longer shelf life than those that don’t. I haven’t noticed if either of these are true or not.

However, I don’t yet pin consistently. In a time of making changes to what I do and how I do it when it comes to this blog, this is one more thing I’m changing.

Every time I publish a post, I will pin it. Maybe after a while, I will be able to look at my stats and see a difference.

Riddle me this: Do you use Pinterest for your business/blog/writing? Have you noticed a difference when you do vs when you don’t?

Choosing Pictures for Blog Posts

I thought I would share a little peek behind the scenes and talk about how I choose pictures for blog posts.

First, I start with the topic of the blog post. If it’s a general post, I might just use a picture of me. If it’s about something specific, like this one, I know I need one that’s more relevant.

Second, I will look at the images I already have uploaded to my blog. Sometimes I can reuse one of them. I’ve done that several times. If I don’t find a usable one, I will look in the photo library of pictures I have taken.

If I don’t find a photo I want to use from my files, I have two more options. I can either take a photo or use one from the WordPress library.

It’s easy to get caught up in the image search and spend too much time on it. I’ve actually opted to publish a post without an image if I can’t find one and am short on time. I try not to do that very often, though.

Third, when I have the image in place, I finish the post. I will give it a once-over, set the category and tags, and publish or schedule the post.

That’s a little bit about how I do it things. What about you? Do you always include photos with your blog posts?

January Wrap-Up

Is it just me or was January both the longest and the shortest month ever? I didn’t quite meet all of my goals for the month, but I did pretty good.

My theme for the month was “content.” As in, creating content. To help with this, I participated in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I ended up not completing the challenge, for a variety of reasons. However, I did get more posts up than I usually do in January. That’s a win itself.

Other things I did for January is

  • 5 Days to Increased Creativity challenge
  • 5 Days to Planner Peace challenge
  • Signed up for and started a Tunisian crochet class with Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts.
  • Finished two crocheted shawls.
  • Planned out the next JEN Enterprises Presents title (hybrid planning).

January was a challenging month, but it was ultimately a good one. I’ll have another wrap-up at the end of this month too.