Summer Direction CAL & August Summary

This post is going to be a mix of personal stuff, a monthly summary, and instructions for how to continue the Summer Direction CAL. You can skip to whatever part you find most interesting.

Personal

Twelve years ago, under a hot summer sun, I said “I do”. Mitch and I got married on his parents’ acreage and most of the guests took home sunburns. We were young and crazy. Now we’re just crazy. 😉

We have had good times and bad times and three babies and many moves and we have grown and changed through it all. I am not going to give you my life’s story today. I’m too busy making crochet patterns! Here’s to many more years! *grab a cup of something and celebrate with me, eh?*

Also, my Anniversary could have been a good excuse to have a sale, but I already had a sale to celebrate my family’s August birthdays and I’m going to have another sale for my birthday in a few days anyway! 😀

August Summary

This month, August 2021, marks 16 months since I began designing. I love it and I wish I had started sooner!

Like every month this year, my first pattern of the month was a gnome. “August Gnome” was the one with all the cherries. There are only a few more months to go until we have a complete blanket! “A Year of Gnomes” has been one of my best sellers. Thank you for the love!

Crocheted by CarolinevdB, overlay mosaic technique

Then I published “Baby Fish“. This pattern was the 6th extra large square (otherwise known as a baby blanket) in my “Baby Ocean & Others” eBook. I am excited to get my next Ocean eBook started! I will have 6 more patterns of this size for you all! They aren’t *baby* designs this time, although some of them are definitely still good as baby gifts. Most of them are designed for the super cool grown-ups, like me, who enjoy ocean art that can be made into a big blanket.

Mosaic crochet version of “Baby Fish”. Made with Retro Stripes from Red Heart.

Next I came out with another big blanket pattern, “Sunflowers and Butterflies”. This is a summer design that I know you all loved – you visited my ravelry page so many times that I got listed in their top 10 list! Thank you!

Interlocking Crochet sample by Semicci. This pattern made it into Ravelry’s top 10!

You may notice in the image above that the pattern listed right above mine was “The Wave 2” by Svetlana Rogatykh. That pattern was part of the Ocean-themed Crochet-Along hosted by CAL-Crochet-Along blog. I contributed two patterns to that CAL. My “Mosaic Coral Strip” was first, and my “Mosaic Sunglasses Strip” was the final part of that blanket! They have 2 more blankets as part of their Friends Around the World 6th Anniversary CAL – check out the details here: https://calcrochetalong.com/2021-friends-around-the-world-cal/

After publishing the FREE “Mosaic Sunglasses Strip” to Ravelry on August 19, 2021 I also put a FREE file in my Facebook Group for the interlocking crochet version of my sunglasses strip!

And then the very next day we started my Summer Direction CAL!

This pattern has YouTube videos for each section for both of the techniques (interlocking and overlay mosaic crochet). And each section’s written line-by-line instructions will be FREE on my website here as well.

We are about 25% of the way through this pattern so far.

You can still get the full pattern and charts on Ravelry or Etsy for 50% off until the end of September by using code “SUMMER2021“.

My 6th published pattern this month was originally published in Crochet Now magazine in issue 68 which came out in the spring. I am very proud to be published like a “real designer”! It feels very validating and a little bit surreal. 😅

Now that I can publish my “Eiffel Tower Wall Hanging” to Ravelry and Etsy I have used my normal template (that is: US terminology, written for both overlay mosaic crochet and interlocking crochet).

You can still get 20% off your purchase of the Eiffel Tower or the Parisian Wall Hangings eBook (which includes three patterns) until 11:59pm CST August 30, 2021 by using code “PARIS20“.

Summer Direction CAL

We began this Crochet-A-Long on August 20, 2021. We created the foundation rows in whichever technique you preferred (interlocking or mosaic) and you also had to decide at that point how wide your project was going to be. You may find it easier to navigate through each section from the landing page for your chosen technique.

I made a single-width sample in both techniques and then a full blanket using the mosaic technique (I used Red Heart Super Saver Stripes, colorway “Retro Stripes” for my Contrasting Color).

We have completed two sections of Chevron A and the first Dark Arrow section so far.

The next section in the Summer Direction CAL is a repeat of Chevron A again. We are now at row 49 but the video and written instructions are going to start with row 5. You may need to put a stitch marker at row 49 to remind you that it counts as row 5.

If you’re using the interlocking technique it’s important to note that you will be starting this section with the Wrong Side (WS) facing you.

Make sure you only do Chevron A once after the Dark Arrows.

Magazine Dream Come True: Eiffel Tower in Crochet Now

Did you see my post on instagram? I am going to be in a magazine! Hello, dreams-come-true! 🤩😍

Photos courtesy of Practical Publishing

I designed this Eiffel Tower Wall Hanging for their Paris theme – this is what they wrote on their blog: “Welcome that Parisian feeling into your décor with what is possibly the most amazing crochet wall-hanging I’ve ever seen! The Eiffel Tower hanging on the back of my door would certainly make me smile every day!

Crochet Now 68 is on sale from 22nd April in shops across the UK. To find your nearest stockist, visit http://www.seymour.co.uk – or order online from http://www.craftstash.co.uk

You can also purchase a digital edition of the magazine via the PocketMags app.

Me, here in Canada, I am hoping Michael’s will have the magazine 🤷‍♀️

I did also find this link that looks promising: https://www.crochetnow.co.uk/where-to-buy/

This magazine is based in the UK which means they require patterns to be written using UK terms. In a few months, when the rights revert back to me, I will publish this pattern to Ravelry and Etsy in the form that is familiar to me: interlocking crochet and mosaic crochet; in US terminology.

The magazine version has a link to a chart with x’s! Some of you may be really excited for that, I will also be offering the non-x’ed-chart for my interlocking crocheters.

I used Scheepjes Organicon in my magazine sample. The colors are for spring time 🤩 and the softness of the yarn makes me think people will start hugging their wall! I used a 3 mm hook but you may need to adjust that based on your tension.

What do you think about the simple wooden dowel at the top for hanging? I haven’t made many wall hangings before but I think the simplicity of it is really nice.

I am going to crochet it again, using the interlocking crochet technique and bulky weight yarn! I just need to pick colors… 🤔 it should end up being a good size for a single-person blanket.

Anyway, this has been a pretty exciting month for me with my one-year Designaversary, the big giveaway and sale, and then this big magazine announcement! I was also really hoping to announce my next CAL (Crochet-A-Long) but I am still ironing out some details.

Here is a teaser:

MusicCAL: coming soon!

On a personal note, I also *finally* got my 10 year anniversary ring 💍 🤩 This summer will be our 12th anniversary! When we had our 10th we were still renovating the house (that is now sold) and I had literally just had my 3rd baby (making it 3 kids under 5 years old) so a pretty ring wasn’t really a priority.

The MusicCAL is dedicated to my husband. I am so thankful for him. Words are kind of insufficient. He is an amazing man, a loving husband, the best dad, and a super cool musician. 😎

Impromptu family photo

My one-year designer anniversary!

This post should start with a bunch of pictures of my face making surprised, confused, ecstatic, and bewildered looks! HOW did I manage to become a crochet designer and spend an entire year doing this already!?

How come I didn’t do this sooner? How long can I keep doing this? How did I get so many followers and supporters on all my various social media sites? And, why do I have so many social media sites? 😆

At this time last year I was trying to wrap my head around how to create an interlocking crochet pattern. I managed to publish my first pattern to ravelry on April 1, 2020.

I now have 200 patterns published to Ravelry! Quite a few are also on Etsy. Almost all of my patterns are written for interlocking and overlay mosaic; I did try my hand at “regular” crochet patterns too but I don’t find it as enjoyable.

I have met (online) so many kind and creative people this past year. There are over 3000 members in my Facebook group. I have over 1400 followers on Instagram, over 1800 subscribers on my YouTube channel, and I actually don’t know how to check how many of you are subscribed to these blog posts. And I am failing at being regular with the Mailchimp newsletter 😬 but I really appreciate everyone who has shown their support there too!

Honestly, I am so thankful to everyone who has supported me through this first year. I can’t believe how validating and rewarding it has been. So many little dreams-come-true. 🤩

I need to give a special shout-out to David Q. Orth. His pattern, Doctor’s Orders, is what got me hooked. His kindness through this first year has been a breath of fresh air.

My brown and yellow, “Doctor’s Orders” blanket; designed by David Q. Orth

Plus, his designs are amazing and that inspires me to do the best artwork I can. He started designing only a few months before I did and it has been nice to grow beside each other.

I am also very thankful for Kate Dudman! She has been a source of emotional support, an encyclopedia of knowledge and experience, and a fun friend to chat with. She puts a lot of time and effort into her facebook group, Interlocking Crochet World, and it is a great resource for everyone!

I also put my new friend, Neetsey, to work shortly after becoming acquainted. She has helped me with ravelry and other “business” things but is also a good shoulder to cry on. It is really too bad the shoulder is only online, the internet is still lacking the human touch. We will meet someday! And, her little dog too! 😉😆

I credit my new friend, Kimberly Windsor-Johnson, as the kind push that has helped me keep moving forward. Her encouragement and creativity have buoyed me a few times. And, of course, I needed another virtual shoulder for my many moments.

There have been others through the past year who have shown me how to believe in myself, even when it’s just a single comment. I appreciate the constructive criticism as well as the compliments and I am thankful that not everyone has given up on me.

I have made mistakes this year. That’s to be expected when learning so many new things and filling my schedule to the brim (ok, it was definitely overflowing: started designing, sold our house, hubby lost his job, moved twice, homeschooling my eldest, and a global pandemic? Ya, it was a stressful year lol). I am sorry for the disappointments and I guarantee I will not be perfect in the future either.

I have disappointed myself a few times as well. But I have also grown.

It’s hard to have a plan for the future of “Ashlee Brotzell Designs” when I really don’t know what I expected or what I can expect from myself when a hobby blows up into a job.

First and foremost, I am a mom. I am a wife. My family is, and has to remain, a priority.

Secondly, my own mental health is a balancing act between pushing myself to grow without pushing myself off the edge. 😅 I want to keep working at designing but I don’t want it to be “work”. This is therapy. This is me-time. This is supplemental income.

In short, my goals for the next year are to keep designing, keep trying new things, but with a stronger focus on balance.

I still have a lot of things on my to-do list. Even more on my wishlist. And a lifetime supply of inspiration.

Tune in tomorrow, when I will tell you how we are going to celebrate this momentous occasion!

September Summary

August was pretty busy, September didn’t slow down.

September 1st started my 3rd CAL (Crochet-A-Long)! The Abstract Queen is a beautiful, big queen-size blanket that uses motifs from my small abstract squares. This was my first CAL to be offered in both techniques: LFM and Mosaic.

You can find the Abstract Queen on Ravelry and Etsy and also for free, here on the blog.

Don’t forget to create your project on ravelry (with at least one picture) to enter the weekly draw!

Quite a few people have asked about making the Abstract Queen smaller – and there’s no easy way to do that. Many mosaic patterns out there are just repeats of 8 or 12 or some small number like that but this was drawn up more like a single image (like the Speedy Train). You can cut the end off if you want, but it wasn’t designed for that.

I did draw up a smaller blanket using the same abstract themes and I call it the Abstract Princess. You can get that pattern on Ravelry and Etsy.

My 33rd birthday meant a sale for you: for a few days everything was 33% off and a lot of you grabbed some new patterns! I can’t wait to see all your new projects!

Speaking of new projects… I really meant to just focus on getting the mosaic instructions for the patterns I already have. I really didn’t plan on creating new patterns. But, then my husband lost his job and I wanted the instant gratification that comes from a new pattern (or two). 🤣

All of my new patterns come with interlocking and mosaic instructions. And I publish them to Ravelry and Etsy. These are the new ones this month:

I did also manage to update these patterns to include the mosaic instructions (the interlocking patterns are still there, don’t worry!). This is the Ravelry list and these were added to my MOSAIC BUNDLE:

Then I updated these patterns on Etsy and I learned that there is no easy way to get updated patterns to my customers on Etsy! 😱 So, that really disappoints me and I don’t know what to do to fix that.

If you have purchased on Etsy and you want an update please send me a message asking for the pattern, including your email address!

October is sure to be just as busy! We have moved into a small apartment temporarily while my husband looks for a job. Depending on where he gets a job, we may be doing another big move right away here. I am sure the second move will go smoother because of all the packing and unpacking practice we have now lol. Thanks for sticking with me through this big transition!

August Summary

I like the monthly summary because it is hard for me to remember what happened 30 days ago. Lol

Besides being very busy in the household (3 birthdays, our anniversary, listed our house for sale, conditonally sold it and bought another in 5 days) I have also been quite busy with my computer work for these crochet patterns.

The Birthday Cupcake pattern was on sale all month. The Preemie Love Blanket was on sale all month. Then it was free for 3 days as part of a promotion with Sunflower Cottage Crochet.

I published 6 new patterns on Ravelry (with LFM and Mosaic instructions of course):

I published these ones on Etsy (LFM and Mosaic):

I published these ones on this blog (free!) (some were previously published on Ravelry, at least 5 were never seen anywhere before) and they can also be found in my Facebook group files:

I also created a Buzz Lightyear sweater for my son. I wrote about it on the blog, you can decide if it counts as a pattern.

And I crocheted the Heart Levels Banner and some Lightning Squiggle pieces to make my purple Preemie Love blanket larger for a friend to use as a lapghan.

I added these videos to my YouTube channel:

I updated these “old” patterns to include mosaic instructions:

Wow, I feel exhausted just looking at that list. September might be slower?I will only have the start of the Abstract Queen CAL, more patterns to update with mosaic instructions, my birthday, and moving (we should be taking possession mid September if all the ducks fall into line).

Thank you for coming on this journey with me!

July’s Summary

The end of July means I’ve been designing for 4 months now!

I am learning so much and I still have so much more to learn. Thank you to everyone for bearing with me as I make some mistakes and do things the hard way before learning the easy ways. I have really appreciated all the love and support!

I am currently trying to learn more about mailing lists and newsletters. Right now, I’ve directed everyone to sign up to follow my blog so that you will receive an email each time I post a new entry (like this one).

The potential problem I see is that if you have signed up to receive updates for the “Abstract Queen CAL” but you also receive an email when I publish all my Doctor Who squares (for example) you may feel annoyed at the excessive amount of uninteresting emails.

So, I have created a mailchimp sign up form instead. I won’t be hurt if you unsubscribe from my blog and choose to just get the CAL.

Update: mailchimp sign up for my random newsletters here!

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Back to the summary

So far in July I have published 8 new patterns (each has interlocking and mosaic, so in a way it is like 16 patterns):

I had a big giveaway for the Wings Are Freedom Shawl – there were over 600 entries! Congratulations again to Samantha J. and Heather B.!

I also managed to create this website and crochet my Preemie Love blanket twice (once in interlocking, once in mosaic).

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Next month is going to be busy – birthday central around here (3 out of 5 in my house have a birthday in August) plus the pre-release of the Abstract Queen CAL. Oh, and at least 2 more patterns are in the works.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me 🙂

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